Cerberus - bleeding the way

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Dave Devlin (author), CWO Michael Connors (photographer)

Location(s): Frankston, Vic

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

Seaman Gap Year Louise Schultz celebrated her 19th birthday by making her first ever blood donation, at the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Donor Centre in Frankston, Victoria, as part of the 2020 Defence Blood Challenge. (photo: CWO Michael Connors)
Seaman Gap Year Louise Schultz celebrated her 19th birthday by making her first ever blood donation, at the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Donor Centre in Frankston, Victoria, as part of the 2020 Defence Blood Challenge.

With Australia currently needing 29,000 blood donations each week, ship’s company of HMAS Cerberus have rallied together to book out an entire daily schedule at the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Frankston Donor Centre in Victoria.

Despite being Father’s Day, 73 members of Team Cerberus made time to give this important gift of life-saving blood.

The 2020 Defence Blood Challenge commenced on 1 September and will run until 8 December.

This annual event places Navy, Army, Air Force, Australian Public Service, along with family members and Defence Industry partners in a head-to-head donation race, to help the ADF to reach its overall 2020 target of 9500 donations.

The Royal Australian Navy's Victorian Blood Ambassador, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Brittany Abel, with Ms Rachel Pedler from the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Donor Centre during the eHMAS Cerberus blood donation day, in Frankston, Victoria.

The Royal Australian Navy's Victorian Blood Ambassador, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Brittany Abel, with Ms Rachel Pedler from the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Donor Centre during the HMAS Cerberus blood donation day, in Frankston, Victoria.

For Leading Seaman Marine Technician Brittany Abel it has been a long time between donations. However, as the appointed Navy Victorian Blood Ambassador, she is keen to motivate everyone who is eligible to donate to make the time to do so.

“I first donated when I was living in Darwin in 2015 and have tried to make regular donations since,” Leading Seaman Abel said.

“I love helping people, and being in a team environment it only motivates me to do more.

“I look forward to reaching out to all Navy personnel and their families across Victoria and strive to make a dent in our donation target.”

With the current Stage 4 pandemic restrictions in place, donating blood is considered an essential service and remains vital to keep the country’s blood supplies secure.

Donors in restricted areas are still able to donate as long as they meet the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood standard eligibility criteria, which includes feeling well and healthy, not having been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, and not waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test.

Leading Seaman Abel said the most pleasing part of the day was the large amount of first time donors who attended.

“Giving blood for the first time is such a rewarding experience knowing you are helping to save lives,” she said.

“We were able to fill all 73 donations appointments on the day, but overwhelmingly I was pleased to see the 39 first time donors who contributed to the day’s success.”

For Seaman Gap Year sailor Louise Schultz, her first donation was made even more special, being made on her 19th birthday.

“The staff here at the Frankston Donor Centre made the day special, they all dressed up in superhero outfits, and then when my donation was complete they all sang “Happy Birthday” to me.

“It really made the moment feel very special,” she said.

For more information on the Defence Blood Challenge visit
https://www.donateblood.com.au/lifeblood-teams/defence

To become a blood donor visit the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Page
https://my.donateblood.com.au/app/utils/create_account