The staff at the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Centre in Launceston have got to know David O'Brien very well in recent months. The retired engineer has been visiting the centre every two weeks during much of this year to donate life-saving blood plasma.
The centre is hoping for more donors like Mr O'Brien to step up this week as part of International Plasma Awareness Week, which aims to educate people about the need across Tasmania for the lesser-known "yellow part of blood".
Reportedly, almost 700 plasma medications and transfusions are needed in Tasmania every week. Many people suffering from cancer, immune disorders, haemophilia, trauma and kidney disease rely on donated plasma - but supplies are in a constant shortage.
Lifeblood spokesperson Ann Harvey thanked Launceston locals who donated during the pandemic, ensuring at-risk patients could receive the plasma medication they needed.
"But despite locals from Launceston donating more plasma than ever before, these patients need more people on their support team to get them through treatment," she said.
Consequently, the centre is seeking another 850 donors this month to sure up much-needed supplies.
"Donating even once, or just once more, will help ensure Australian patients get the medicines they need," Ms Harvey added.
Mr O'Brien believes there's no reason not to come down to the centre and roll up a sleeve.
"There's always a shortage and donating has no negative impact. It doesn't hurt - in fact you're likely to feel more pain stepping out of bed in the morning."
To make an appointment or learn more about donating plasma download the DonateBlood APP, call 13 14 95 or visit lifeblood.com.au.
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