The Australian Red Cross was flooded with donations today when the ship’s company of HMAS Huon rolled up their sleeves in Sydney to support the 2013 Defence Blood Challenge.
“The Royal Australian Navy is playing an important role in ensuring that Australians who need blood have access to a safe and ongoing supply,” said Jemma Falkenmire of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.
“The donations made today will be helping patients in as little as 48 hours.”
Executive Officer of Huon, Lieutenant (LEUT) Tom Mobbs, donated much needed plasma, while Leading Seaman Steven Harvey was just one of the many crew members to give a whole blood donation.
“Even though we constantly highlight the importance of giving blood, it is for a special personal reason that we have donated today,” LEUT Mobbs said.
“The Operations Officer in our ship, LEUT Jonathon Little, almost lost his wife when she went into premature labour, in the end it was a blood transfusion that saved her life.”
Pregnant mothers and their unborn babies are among thousands of Australians who rely on lifesaving donations every week.
LEUT Mobbs is aware of the need to assist women during pregnancy as he is expecting his first child with wife Mia in January.
Jemma explained how plasma, known within the Red Cross as ‘liquid gold’ can be used for a variety of patients.
“As well as supplying lifesaving injections for mothers, plasma is used to make 17 different products that help patients with trauma, burns, cancer, blood diseases and a range of other conditions.”
2013 Navy Blood Ambassador, Petty Officer Cartrena Skinner, donated plasma today alongside the crew of Huon. As a mother of three she understands the need for blood donations and is encouraging the community to get behind Navy personnel.
“With the International Fleet Review fast approaching next week it’s a great time for family, friends and the community to show their support for the hard working sailors and officers who make up our Navy,” PO Skinner said.
Huon, the Minehunter Coastal ship, returned this week from a four month sea deployment where they conducted Operation RESOLUTE, Australia’s whole of government border security effort.
“Giving blood and helping those in need means a lot to the Huon crew but with only seven weeks at home this year and the rest at sea, it makes it very hard for us to donate,” LEUT Mobbs said.
With so many ships at sea the Navy needs all the help it can get to increase its donation tally and beat the Army and Air Force in the Defence Blood Challenge this year.
Members of the public who are donating blood or blood products can log onto the Red Cross website and count their donation towards Navy’s tally, simply click ‘donate as a group’ and type the word ‘Navy’ into the organisation section.
For more information on the Defence Blood Challenge visit http://www.donateblood.com.au/defence.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131538.