FEELING GOOD: Malcolm Charlesworth enjoys coffee and a snack after giving blood more than 500 times.
FEELING GOOD: Malcolm Charlesworth enjoys coffee and a snack after giving blood more than 500 times.

Milestone Malcolm a fair dinkum 'bloody legend'

HE'S not the type to shout about his accomplishments, but the Red Cross reckons Toowoomba's Malcolm Charlesworth is a "bloody legend".

Malcolm, 71, has notched up over 500 blood donations over the past 50 years.

He is one of 107 milestone donors invited to be honoured at the Toowoomba Red Cross branch on Tuesday, June 13 and has been outdone by just one person locally with 550 donations.

Others to be recognised include 40 who have reached the 50 milestone, 30 with 100, 18 with 150, seven on 200, four reaching the 250, two the 300 and four the 350 milestone.

It's a rare, and much appreciated accomplishment, according to community relations officer Sandee Thompson.

But she said National Blood Donor Week, from June 11-17, was also a chance to thank everyone who had donated over the past year, and to inspire them and others to give.

A semi-retired bus driver, who can still find himself driving up to five days a week at times, when he's not doing Meals on Wheels ... or a crossword ... Malcolm said he donated blood simply to help others.

"It's good to know you're doing some good somewhere; doing something to help someone else, even if you'll never see them. It's a community thing really," he said.

Still, reaching the 500 milestone isn't bad for the man who admits he was scared of needles at the time he was first talked into donating.

"It's an entirely different thing now - they don't worry me at all," he laughed.

And then, of course, there's the added incentive that according to Malcolm "you get a very good feed there" and they're a nice bunch of people to get to know.

"All of our highly valued donors enjoy a well-deserved snack following their life-saving donation," Sandee said.

It's a small bonus when one in three Australians will need donated blood during their lifetime but only one in 30 will ever donate. Each donation could save three lives.

And Sandee said it's particularly important to give over winter.

"Winter is a traditionally tough time for the Blood Service because many regular donors can't give blood due to cold and flu symptoms," Sandee said.

Donors must wait at least two weeks after they are well, meaning the blood bank can miss up to 1500 donations Australia-wide, putting stocks under real stress.

To roll up your sleeves and give blood, call 131495.

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