HMAS Stirling, in Western Australia, used the aroma from a sausage sizzle to lure potential blood donors to the local launch of the 2017 Defence Blood Challenge.
After reaching an impressive total in 2016, Western Australian-based Navy members pledged to better the near 200 donations made last year.
Customer Relations Manager for the Red Cross Blood Service, Gina Tracey was at the launch and provided advice to personnel on donating blood and how to join Navy’s ‘Red25’ team supporting the push to have 25 per cent of Australia’s blood supply provided through corporate competitions.
“Last year in Western Australia the Navy dominated the Challenge, giving more blood than the Army, Air Force and civilian workforce combined,” she said.
“One in three Australians will need blood in their lifetime, so we’re hoping the Navy will be up to the challenge again this year.
“One in three Australians will need blood in their lifetime - whether for cancer, illness, surgery or other medical conditions - but only 1 in 30 donates.
“Blood is a life-changing donation more powerful than money,” she said.
Veteran blood-donor Lieutenant Commander David Sutherland reflected on the early days of donating blood and his ongoing commitment to the cause.
“My very first donation, when serving in the Seychelles in HMAS Moresby, reminded me of the days of Florence Nightingale when blood was extracted in large stainless steel syringes,” Lieutenant Commander Sutherland said.
“We were offered a glass of rum afterwards, many of my shipmates wanted to go ‘around the buoy’ for an extra glass of rum!”
He said it was only later when he realised the true value of blood and plasma donations. Plasma donations can be made up to every two weeks and whole blood every three months. Lieutenant Commander Sutherland said he had now donated more than 250 times.
“The whole donating experience is always worth it for me when I get to meet the many Western Australians who so desperately rely on the generosity of blood donors for their standard of living and in many cases their very lives - especially when they are young children,” he said.
Navy personnel, their friends and family can all join the Navy’s Red 25 team - and donate during the Challenge period of September to December.
To find out whether you can donate and how to join Navy’s team visit https://www.donateblood.com.au/red25.