World Blood Donor Day
Facilitator, donor, and daughter of a recipient Kate Turner reflects on the importance of giving blood and why your next milkshake could be a matter of life and death.
They tell you that each donation you make can save three lives, and as lovely as it is, you don’t really think about the actual impact it has. For me, they were three people I didn’t know, three people who could have had any number of things happen that they needed extra blood. Three people who are, at the end of the day, complete strangers. I donated because both my parents lived overseas for a few years and they’re ineligible now, and I knew it was just something good to do to help other people. I’ve got a pretty common blood type which people will always need more of, and those few reasons were the extent of how much I thought about it.
It was three years later, almost to the day, that my father needed a blood transfusion. He had a long, complex surgery that was broadly successful, but he lost enough blood that every time he sat up, he fainted. When I visited him later in the hospital, he was as white as the wall, almost too tired to eat dinner or watch a film. Over the next few days he got stronger, could move around the ward without much of a wobble, and was even able to get to the end of an episode of Mad Men. The blood products he received were monumentally helpful, and while it took him a while to get back to work, he’s back to being a reasonably fit, healthy man who you might not otherwise know was very unwell.
You never get to know those people who you help, and vice-versa, I’ll never know the people who donated the blood that helped my Dad. It really hit home to me that those three lives they tell you about are people that are someone’s family, someone’s mother or father, their sibling, their partner. Of course, you’ll always be somewhat aware that you’re helping someone, but for me, it became very real, very quickly. Our family is forever grateful that people donate their time and their blood for nothing more than a sausage roll and a milkshake, and we are so, so thankful for the work that the Australian Red Cross Blood Service does.
Learn more about donation blood or make an appointment to donate here.