Suncorp is a proud supporter of Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. For the first time, Lifeblood is opening their doors this Christmas Day, welcoming all eligible donors to roll up their sleeves on the 25th and donate blood or plasma. Excitingly, British donors living in the UK between 1980-1996 are also now being welcomed through Lifeblood’s doors, since the change was made to eligibility guidelines in July this year – opening up the donor pool to approximately 18,000 Brits living in Australia.
One Suncorp employee who welcomes the change is Julie Harrap, who was living in the UK during the previously ineligible years. Julie has been living in Australia for nearly ten years, and for the first time this year, shared the unique gift of blood with a patient in need.
Julie says she was a regular donor when she was living in the UK, and has been keen to see the rules change for some time.
“I’ve been regularly following the requests by UK immigrants to be able to donate blood on the various Lifeblood media sites, so was very happy to see the rules changed,” says Julie.
Julie Harrap, Suncorp employee
I know so many friends and family that were signing up to donate as soon as they could. My teenage children are keen to donate too when they are 18 as they see me get so passionate about the cause!
Julie described her first donation in Australia as “quick and painless”. For her second donation this year, she chose to give the gift of plasma, given her recent trip to Indonesia and the increasingly high demand for plasma donations.
While there are stricter guidelines for donating blood, such as no recent tattoos, overseas trips to particular countries and a limit on frequency of donations, eligibility for donating plasma is significantly simpler. While Julie wasn’t able to donate blood just yet because of her recent travel, she was able to donate plasma as soon as she returned to the country.
“After donating plasma for the first time, I discovered that you can donate plasma more regularly than blood, which means I can get myself along to the donation centre a few extra times in between my blood donations.”
Plasma is considered to those in the medical industry as “liquid life”. The Lifeblood team explain that plasma donations even have a wider impact than blood donations, with it being used to treat patients in 18 different ways. “There are a growing number of patients relying on plasma donations for the treatment of cancer, immune disorders, haemophilia, trauma, and kidney disease,” says Ronny Maroun, a Lifeblood spokesperson.
Ronny Maroun, Lifeblood Spokesperson
Thousands of Australians rely on plasma-based medicines, including a growing number with auto immune conditions, bleeding disorders, and those in critical care such as blood cancer patients.
Julie says that she feels enriched by giving the gift of blood and plasma, particularly through the holiday season.
“The sense of satisfaction you get from knowing you helped save someone’s life completely outweighs the nervousness you might have over the whole process,” she says.
“Try it once, what have you got to lose!”
Major donation centres will be open for the first time this Christmas Day.