Sunshine Coast Health staff join the drive for more blood

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Sheree enjoying life post recovery.

Sheree enjoying life post recovery.

Each year, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) staff roll up their sleeves for the Australian Red Cross LifeBlood’s annual Health Services Blood Drive.

Jan English, Clinical Nurse Consultant for Transfusion and Blood Management said healthcare workers are very aware of the consequences of low blood stocks.

“Our staff see donated blood products save lives daily; and their response to the annual blood drive is always outstanding.

“The demand for blood and plasma is constant and we have such a shortage right now.

“At some time, each of us will either need blood or have a loved one in need of blood.”

Jan said the annual health blood drive, held from April to June, was a chance to compete against health teams nationally and raise awareness about the importance of blood donations.

“Donations help patients suffering from life threatening conditions live longer with a higher quality of life; they support surgical procedures; they also have an essential role in child and maternal care and during emergency response.

“Our team have signed up for a total of 338 donations so far this year, saving up to 1,014 lives,” Jan said.

Rebecca Ind from Australian Red Cross Lifeblood said 140,000 more people are needed to join the community of blood donors who save the lives of 1.5 million patients across Australia every year.

“On the Sunshine Coast, our 11,500 local donors are the lifeblood of our community,” Rebecca said.

“Blood is needed somewhere in Australia every 18 seconds.

“It takes just an hour of your time to donate blood and every donation can help save up to three lives.”

The need for blood never stops. In fact, Australia needs 33,000 donations every single week. That’s why Lifeblood Teams like the health service are coming together to work towards a single goal.

Sheree’s story

Sheree, a theatre nurse from the Sunshine Coast, said haemoglobin she received from donated blood enabled her to have life-saving surgery to have her kidney removed.

Sheree has hereditary polycystic kidney disease and in July 2021 a bleed from a renal cyst caused her haemoglobin count to drop dangerously low, affecting her body’s ability to carry oxygen to her lungs and throughout her body.

“I could barely stand up; I was so weak I could barely get myself from the bathroom to the bed while I was in hospital,” she said.

“The kidney had to come out; but I wasn’t fit enough for surgery.

“I’m on the transplant list, so they were reluctant to give me blood because of the antibodies I might take on board.

“In August it got to the point where they said, ‘We’ve got to do this’.”

As a nurse, Sheree knew her body couldn’t replenish haemoglobin stores on its own.

“I had three units of red blood cells by dialysis before surgery; without that donated blood my surgery wouldn’t have been possible.

“My job is to help save lives and blood stocks enabled me to get back to work; back to my day-to-day life with my family,” Sheree said.

“If you’re fit and health and can donate blood, please do because there are so many people who need it to save them from different life-threatening conditions.”

To book an appointment to donate blood visit www.lifeblood.com.au or phone 13 14 95.