Celebrating local donors at Taree Blood Bank on National Blood Donors Week 2021

Important message: Nicole Wilding and Gilly Paxton from Australian Red Cross Lifeblood in Taree, with donor Penny Schubert. Photo: Scott Calvin
Important message: Nicole Wilding and Gilly Paxton from Australian Red Cross Lifeblood in Taree, with donor Penny Schubert. Photo: Scott Calvin

Taree's iconic Big Oyster will be a glowing red landmark after sunset this week from Monday, June 14 to Friday, June 18.

The reason? It's National Blood Donors Week, and the Taree Lifeblood crew are celebrating their 1000 blood and plasma donors. And they are doing so with the help of Mid Coast Automotive Group and Cetnaj Lighting.

"Our local donors from Taree and surrounds who come here to the donor centre are phenomenal. We can always rely on them. We've had floods, we've had bushfires and our donors have been through so much personally, yet they're always here, and they know the value and importance of their donation," Lifeblood spokesperson, Gilly Paxton said.

"This week is actually about us being able to celebrate them, and also being able to say to the rest of the community, 'hey, now is your turn to make a change for life. Now is your turn to step forward and become a blood or plasma donor because we never know when we're going to need it ourselves'.

"One in three of us will need blood or blood products during our lifetime. Yet only three per cent of us donate.

"And of course people get older, and for different reasons people are unable to donate anymore, so it's really important that we keep replacing our donor pool.

"We have one of the safest blood supplies internationally and it's something that we should be incredibly proud of as a nation and something that we should celebrate. And we can only do that with people giving up an hour of their time and stepping forward to be superheroes," Gilly said.

Celebrated: Bill Ireland giving his 662nd donation to Lifeblood. Photo: Scott Calvin

Celebrated: Bill Ireland giving his 662nd donation to Lifeblood. Photo: Scott Calvin

Bill Ireland from Coomba Park is one of those being thanked, having given 661 blood and plasma donations which have helped save the lives of nearly 2000 patients.

He started when he was 17 years old and went to university, and he is now 75. He has been donating plasma and platelets all those years.

"My father had been a blood donor because he got badly shot up in New Guinea during the war and a blood transfusion saved his life. And that's why I'm here," Bill said as he was in the chair giving his 662nd donation.

"The second reason I give is that life has been very, very good to me. I've done okay, I haven't had to go to war like my father did, I have a lovely wife, and so I think, in this life, you've got to give something back, and this is just a small little that I can do.

"I'd say to other people, do it. It's just a little bit of your time, there's no pain. The lovely people at the Blood Bank look after you. And it's a good feeling. I'd recommend it to anybody."

Taree still needs more than 60 donors this week, so why not begin your blood donation journey during National Blood Donor Week? Call 131495 or visit donateblood.com.au.