It's not bloody hard to be a hometown hero
SPRINGFIELD'S Robert Towner has helped save more than 1600 people's lives.
While he's not a Caped Crusader, just an ordinary bloke who has donated blood 569 times, to each of the recipients, their families and friends, he's a hero.
Robert has been donating blood for about 30 years, having responded to an advert on the radio, and now donates every second Monday.
"I do think about the people it helps,” Robert said.
"That's the incentive that keeps me coming back - to know that each time I'm saving three people's lives.
"I hate if I can't donate for whatever reason.”
World Blood Donor Day is on June 14 and is a reminder to us all that 1 in 3 Australians will need blood in their lifetime, while just 1 in 30 people donate.
In general, anyone in good health between 16 and 70 years of age can donate, and all blood types are required.
Blood donated is tested to ensure it is safe for use and broken down into three components; red cells, plasma and platelets.
Red cells go to accident victims or people undergoing surgery, platelets generally to cancer patients, while plasma may be used to help a haemophilic or a child with an immune disorder, and is used to make as many as 17 life-saving medical products.
Robert, 63, a fitter and turner by trade who moved to the Central Coast about 23 years ago and currently works as a storeman, said he loves the Coast lifestyle and the fact he can "come home from work and actually relax, not like in the city”.
He enjoys kayaking in the warmer months and bike-riding and bushwalking during winter, as well as being a member of a 10-pin bowling league.
He's been lucky enough to never need a transfusion himself, and said it's generally only sickness that stops him from giving blood, which takes a bit over an hour out of his day.
"But I don't think about it in terms of time, just that it's helping people out who are in a less fortunate situation,” he said.
As an added bonus, donors find out their own blood type, blood pressure, weight and get cholesterol updates.
"I'd say to anyone who thinks about giving blood, go ahead, because it's a worthwhile cause and you're helping untold people, because they always need blood somewhere.”
Phone 13 14 95 or go to: donateblood.com.au to make an appointment.
DID YOU KNOW?
. Whole blood donors can give blood every 12 weeks.
. Plasma and platelet donors can donate every 2-3 weeks.