From now until 3 June 2018 your university needs you to donate blood in the Tertiary Blood Challenge. The challenge is a social responsibility initiative where universities and TAFEs around Australia are competing to donate the most amount of blood. Western Sydney University is part of a group called Red25, which works towards ensuring that 25 per cent of Australia’s blood donations are secured.
With these high ideals in mind two nervous Western students rolled up their sleeves to donate blood. Postgraduate online student Rochelle from Kingswood had never donated blood before and had been thinking about it for a while but had never got around to it. “My uncle had a blood transfusion last year and it made me think about what I could do to help,” she said.
Mature age student Kate from Richmond had donated many times. “I usually donate every autumn. I started six years ago when a group of teachers at the school where I work part- time got together, and started to donate,” she said.
Rochelle wondered if she was eligible to donate in Australia, so Kate helped Rochelle to find out if she could make a donation. They went to the Australian Red Cross website to view Australian standards and eligibility to donate.
Online they found a few restrictions they hadn’t considered. Firstly, you must be healthy yourself and not be low in iron or have a heart condition. If you had a tattoo in the last twelve months you can’t donate. Also if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Engaging in risky sexual activity or using recreational drugs will also prohibit you. Most surprisingly if you have been overseas in the last four months or lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 for more than six months you can’t give blood.
After considering all these factors, the women were fully prepared to make a decision. Sadly, on the day both Western students, Rochelle and Kate, were unable to donate blood because one was pregnant and the other had lived in the UK for more than six months between 1880 and 1996.
You need to be over the age of 18 to donate blood, and if you aren’t eligible to donate for any reason, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service suggests encouraging others to donate and spreading the word. Please consider registering with Red 25 by calling 13 14 95. Or if you’d like to organise a group donation call 1300 886 524.
For more information on Western Sydney University’s Red25 Group or the Tertiary Blood Challenge, please visit: https://www.donateblood.com.au/red25
Text: Abigail Nash