Members of the Hastings Macleay Malayalee Association (HMMA) are donating blood as a way of helping the community in which they now live.
More than twenty families in the area are taking part, donating as part of a group over several weeks, and Port Macquarie resident, Suveesh Venugopal, said everyone was happy to assist.
“We are all migrants from Kerala in South West India, our community has been growing in Port Macquarie, Taree and Kempsey, and almost all of us work as doctors, nurses and in the health profession.
“We have been out in the community, but really wanted to do something that would help, so we came up with the plan to begin to donate blood and plasma regularly, and register for the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry,” Mr Venugopal said.
A first time blood donor, Mr Venugopal said despite it being beginning as a scary experience, he was happy he could help.
“We found out the Red Cross is always looking for more people to donate blood and particularly those who have never donated before, and we thought it would be a great way to get involved in the local community.
“Not a lot of people in our group have donated blood before, and it was also my first time, so for me it was a bit scary, especially with the needles, but the staff at the Port Macquarie Red Cross were really friendly and I didn’t even feel the needle when it went in my arm,” he said.
Roshan Abraham, also a member of HMMA, said the group is also trying to encourage migrants to give blood.
“As part of donating blood, our members would like to show their appreciation of the new life and opportunities Australia has provided us, and reciprocate the warm welcome afforded to us by the people of Port Macquarie and Kempsey by giving something back to the community in the form of blood donations.
“We would like to use our event to encourage other migrants to donate blood,” Mr Abraham said.