The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood has called on all emergency services to roll up their sleeves and donate much-needed blood and plasma during winter for the annual Emergency Services Blood Challenge.
The call has been answered in Port Macquarie, with all emergency services personnel and locals supporting the work they do, joining the challenge.
Lifeblood Port Macquarie Donor Centre manager Lynette Cassapi said the challenge is a way to boost blood donations during the cooler months.
"It's harder for us to get donations during winter and emergency services are usually competitive against each other so it helps us to get the donations that we need," she said.
"It also provides an opportunity to celebrate our emergency services and the work that they do in the community.
"The challenge isn't just for emergency services personnel, but for people in the community who want to support them and give blood for them."
Laurieton-based Senior Constable Michael Dietrich rolled up his sleeve on Thursday, June 3, as part of the challenge.
"I first started giving blood when I was 18. I only picked it up again around six months ago and have been coming in to donate every two weeks since then," he said.
"Every drop makes a difference and it's a way that I can help out in a relatively easy way."
Senior Constable Dietrich said the challenge is a way to boost blood donations.
"We do have a local competition going between the emergency services and I try and encourage other members of the police force to get behind the challenge," he said.
"Being a police officer, we do see accidents when we're out on the job where people have lost a lot of blood and need a transfusion and this is a way that we can give back."
Local Colin McRae also donated blood at the Port Macquarie Donor Centre on June 3. His donation went towards supporting the NSW Ambulance in the challenge.
"I've been a truck driver for 30 years and have seen some bad crashes on the road where people have been seriously injured," he said.
"I take my hat off to paramedics, I don't know how they do what they do."
Colin is also a long-time blood donor.
"I started donating around three or four years ago because I wanted to do something for the community and now whenever I can donate, I do it.
"They look after you really well here and are very welcoming, it's just a really good experience."
Emergency services across the country will be competing against each other until the end of winter to make as many donations as possible to help Australians who need blood and plasma.
"The challenge is a lot of healthy fun and it does make a difference," Ms Cassapi said.
"One in three people will need blood or plasma in their lifetime and only three per cent of people donate."
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