Santa gives the gift of life this Christmas
EACH year Santa pays the Lismore Blood Centre a visit for Christmas, but this year was extra special with two of his friends coming along as well.
Santa, wearing a majestic white suit, bravely donated blood while his Lismore friends provided their support.
One of those friends, Duncan Raymont, has been donating blood for 46 years, so it made sense that Santa chose him as his helper.
"I go through a cycle of four plasma donations then whole blood, then I get a full month off before I start the cycle again," he said.
Lismore Blood Centre manager Leanne Latham said it was particularly important for people to donate between Christmas and the new year.
"We're light on appointments because people travel at this time," she said.
"And platelets expire after five days, so we need a constant supply of collections from donors."
Platelets are used daily by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
"Blood is separated into three products - the plasma, red cells and platelets," Ms Latham explained.
Any platelets collected prior to Christmas Day will have expired by the new year.
Mr Raymont confirmed Santa wouldn't put anyone on the naughty list if they didn't donate over those few days, but encouraged all to book an appointment.
"Sometimes there are reasons you can't donate at that moment, but they can put you on a list to come back later, and they still offer you a milkshake," he said.
"They are magnificent milkshakes, and for someone like me they are heaven on Earth."
Ms Latham said the whole appointment takes an hour, but the blood donation itself only takes about eight minutes.
"We like the donors to stay a little longer to make sure they are fine," she said. "They can have a refreshment ... we have sausage rolls, gluten-free options and milkshakes."
To book an appointment phone 13 14 95.