Fresh challenge for perennial leaders

The Tertiary Blood Challenge is on again and this time is calling for new donors in particular, ahead of a potential risk to blood supply if regular donations are disrupted through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flinders University has topped the valuable community initiative in South Australia since joining in 2016, leading tertiary donations for four years running.

This year’s challenge runs from 1 March to 31 May. To take part, simply donate blood or plasma during this period by creating an online account and following the instructions on the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood tertiary challenge webpage.

Together with prompting new donors, the Red Cross is asking existing donors to please continue making, and keeping, their appointments.

“Some 14,000 donors are needed to make an appointment over the next few weeks, including the Easter long weekend, to bolster supplies,” a statement from the organisation said last week, also noting the coronavirus situation could put strain on supply as people self-isolate or regular donors become ill.

The organisation advises there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmittable by blood transfusion, however its robust safety processes ensure people who are unwell do not donate blood or plasma.

“Our donor centres are safe places to visit and we will take all necessary steps to ensure that stays the case.

“Right now, we have 14,000 appointments that need to be filled over the next few weeks as we work to continue providing life-saving blood and blood products to Australian patients as we head into the busy Easter period.”

A single blood donation can save up to three lives.

Flinders University won the 2019 Tertiary Blood Challenge in South Australia with a total of 559 donations and 74 new donor recruits, up on 2018’s 452 donations.

Keep an eye on the live tally at this link.

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