Navy sails to blood donation record, turns sights to a Red October

Published on Mr Josh Williams (author), ABIS Jesse Rhynard (photographer)

Location(s): Canberra, ACT

Topic(s): Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Defence Blood Challenge

File image, L-R: Leading Seaman Steward Alister Harrison; Seaman Boatswains Mate Dylan Carew; Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Chris Carrick; and Lieutenant Emily Kennedy after donating blood during the 2013 Defence Blood Challenge. (photo: ABIS Jesse Rhynard)
File image, L-R: Leading Seaman Steward Alister Harrison; Seaman Boatswains Mate Dylan Carew; Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Chris Carrick; and Lieutenant Emily Kennedy after donating blood during the 2013 Defence Blood Challenge.

On 9 September, the Royal Australian Navy bled for a cause, smashing the record for the most blood donations in a day in the ACT/NSW area.

A total of 108 Navy members donated on the day, contributing to a tally of 161 total donations given by the Canberra community to the Civic Plasma Donor Centre in Canberra in a single day.

The record eclipses the previous best of 130 for the centre, which was set last year and included 74 donations from Navy members.

The event allowed Navy to make a healthy start in its bid to win the 2019 Defence Blood Challenge, with the senior service currently sitting at just over 650 donations. 

The Civic Plasma Donor Centre recorded 63 first-time plasma donors and 35 first-time donors on the day.

Everyone eligible to donate is encouraged to jump aboard and become a regular donor, to help secure Australia’s blood supply.

Navy’s 2016 Blood Challenge Ambassador, Lieutenant Chris Boardman has seen first-hand the life-saving difference that donating blood can make.

“Following many years of planning to donate blood, I finally got around to it in early 2016. While I had intended to get into the Red Cross Blood Bank for many years, it wasn’t until after my wife required blood during emergency surgery as a result of complications during the birth of our daughter.

“I shared my story in social media to encourage others not to wait till something happens close to home.

“My key message is to not just encourage our serving men and women to donate, but for all of you to encourage family and friends to get on board, to donate blood and support Navy by registering in Red25.

“The Red25 group isn’t restricted to just serving personnel, anybody can register as part of the Navy Team. 

“After all, if it’s a sailor who influences family or friends to donate, that’s Navy blood in my book,” Lieutenant Boardman said.

Navy is now well and truly on the hunt for a ‘Red October’ and personnel are encouraged to give as regularly as possible to save as many lives as possible.

Details on how to join the Navy Team and book time to donate blood or plasma in your area are available at https://www.donateblood.com.au/red25/defence or by calling the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 13 14 95.

The Red25 Defence Blood Challenge runs until 8 December.