Less than 4% of New Zealander’s donate blood

By Lewis Catterall

The New Zealand Blood service has had a donor centre on the North Shore for over 25 years. Originally at North Shore Hospital and now at 441 Lake Road in Takapuna. You can only imagine the tens of thousands of litres of North Shore blood and plasma that have been donated and the numbers of lives that these donations have saved. Over the years the NZ Blood team has been honoured to befriend thousands of regular donors. Some may have moved away but many are still donating with them to this day. They say that some of their friends have made as many as 400 donations. That’s a a lot of lives saved! Lewis Catterall, Donor Relations Co-ordinator at the North Shore Donor Centre provided this update on NZ Blood’s efforts on the Shore for Channel Magazine during May.

As a whole blood and plasma donor myself, I give to help others as I believe it is the very least I can do for my community, both locally and nationally.

I hope you were as shocked as I was that so few Kiwis donate blood. As the headline says, just 4%! Sure, there are reasons that people cannot donate, such as medical or age, but there are a lot that may be able to donate but do not. 

We all know someone that has needed blood and, dare I say it, we may need it ourselves one day. So we seek your help to increase our donor numbers. We are not asking for your hard-earned money. We are simply asking for something that we all have and is replaced naturally. But there is a small cost to you; a moment of your time.

Kiwis pride themselves on being caring and giving people so please come and join us. I can assure you the process of giving blood is very easy.

Before every donation there is a brief interview with one of our nurses to ensure that you are eligible. You can also visit our website and take our basic eligibility quiz.

When blood is donated it makes a real difference.

A blood donation can save up to three lives. It takes about 5-10 minutes and donations can be given every three months.

Plasma can be used to make 11 lifesaving treatments. It takes approximately 30-45 minutes and can be given every two weeks.

After donations are made they are screened by our laboratories to confirm blood type, check for red cell antibodies, infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, C and syphilis so it is safe to use.

As well as Takapuna, we have donor centres in Epsom and Manukau. Our mobile blood drives also operate around the Shore. Opening hours are to suit you, the donor, with late nights during the week and Saturdays at Epsom for plasma donations.

We also recruit for ‘Team Red drives’. This is where a business or social group can make a block booking at the North Shore Donor Centre. This can be treated as a team building exercise or company event. You can also promote your social responsibly policy on your company website or Facebook page.

Finally, to our current donors, on behalf of NZ Blood Service, thank you. To use an analogy, NZ Blood simply drive the inflatable boat, you are the lifesavers! To our prospective new donors please contact us as your community and the nation needs you help. Give Blood. Give Plasma. Give Hope.

Feel free contact me directly if you need to know more at Lewis.Catterall@nzblood.co.nz. 

You can call us on 0800-448-325,
visit nzblood.co.nz or download the NZ Blood Service Donor app at the GooglePlay Store or Apple Store.