Derek Cassar and Janelle Devlin (rear) enjoy the fruits of giving blood plasma with enrolled nurses Margaret Sneath (left) and Helen Murphy and acting centre manager John Roberts.
Derek Cassar and Janelle Devlin (rear) enjoy the fruits of giving blood plasma with enrolled nurses Margaret Sneath (left) and Helen Murphy and acting centre manager John Roberts. Jacklyn Wagner

Red Cross hunting for blood donors

DEREK CASSAR enjoys a milk-shake while donating blood.

And he is such a regular at the Lismore Blood Donation Centre the staff know his preferred flavour is chocolate.

He jokes that’s the reason he donates blood.

More specifically he donates plasma, which means he enjoys his favourite milkshake every fortnight.

Mr Cassar, who is self-employed, started donating about 10 years ago, following his wife’s lead.

“I do it because I like helping somebody out,” he said.

Plasma donations take about 40 minutes, so Mr Cassar has time to watch TV, chat to people and enjoy his drink.

Janelle Devlin prefers water while donating plasma.

A nurse, Mrs Devlin has been a donor for about the same time as Mr Cassar and started doing it for the same reason.

“My husband Steve was a donor when we met,” she said.

“We started donating whole blood, but now donate plasma, so I come every two weeks.

“I enjoy chatting to the staff here. They’re great.”

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service staff is not as busy at this time of year as donations traditionally drop off.

Acting donor centre manager John Roberts said they were always looking for ‘new recruits’ over the Christmas/New Year period.

“A lot of regular donors are away on holidays, but it becomes a bit more predictable after the holidays,” Mr Roberts said.

“We will take whatever we can get at the moment as supplies are dangerously low.”

Mr Roberts said two types of donations, whole blood and plasma, required different commitments.

Whole blood donations can only be done every three months, as the body needs to rebuild its iron stores, while plasma donors can donate every two weeks.

The Lismore centre is hopeful new recruits may be holidaymakers visiting the area.

Mr Roberts said the centre was open daily, except public holidays.

“If you are over 50kg, in good health and aged between 16 and 70, you are most welcome,” he said.

And while Christmas fare isn’t on offer, Mr Roberts said there was a variety of treats, such as lollies, sausage rolls, pies and, of course, milkshakes.

To donate, or for information on opening hours, call 131 495 or 6620 2320.

FACTS ABOUT PLASMA
  • Blood is composed of red and white blood cells and platelets suspended in fluid called plasma.
  • 13 products can be made from plasma donations.
  • An average adult has about five litres of blood, threes litres of which is plasma.
  • Up to 650ml of plasma can be collected in one donation – equivalent to the amount of plasma collected from two whole blood donations.
  • Plasma contains important proteins, nutrients and clotting factors which help to prevent or stop bleeding.


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