'Superhero' seniors lead charge on blood shortage

SENIORS News readers are literally rolling up their sleeves to lead the charge in donating life-saving blood across Australia.

Nearly 33 percent of all regular blood donors are aged 50 and over according to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

That's a whopping 200,000 seniors who continually visit a blood donor clinic and stick out their arm to help those in need - especially during National Blood Donor Week.

"They really have dedicated their lives to saving others," Australian Red Cross Blood Service regional communication manager Jennifer Campbell Case said.

"And what that demonstrates, and what is particularly lovely, is that these people have really committed to donating blood over such a long time."

And the enduring passion to save another life has been recognised with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service bestowing the 'milestone' title on anyone who has made 50 donations throughout their life.

And considering one donation can help save three lives, ordinary Australians can quickly become superheroes.

Just ask Toowoomba's Malcom Charlesworth.

The 17-year-old has notched up over 500 donations over the past 50 years - that's helping at least 1500 people!

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.

"A lot of the older people we have talked to say things like … they have a real sense of social responsibility," Ms Campbell Case said.

"Things like that if they can, they ought to because not everyone can."

But despite Australians, such as Mr Charlesworth, single-handedly trying to end the nation's blood shortage on their own, there is a desperate need for more donors to make the effort.

And it's never too late with first-time donors able to give blood until the 71st birthday and regular donors getting another 10 years to save lives.

"We urge more Australians to roll up their sleeves to give blood," Ms Campbell Case said.

"We always need all kinds of blood and blood is extraordinary and can't be replicated by science.

"New data shows that 40 percent of our regular donors give blood only once-per year.

"And if those people gave blood just once more during the year, Australia's blood supply would be assured."

Contact the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 13 14 95 or visit their website to find the closest blood donor clinic nearest to you.


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