Call to give blood generously in support of Australians living with blood cancer

Posted on June 15, 2020, 4:56 pm

The Leukaemia Foundation is urging the national community to give generously in support of Australian blood cancer patients who are heavily reliant on donations.

It takes at least nine people donating blood monthly through Lifeblood to treat just one person living with blood cancer. This National Blood Donor Week, Leukaemia Foundation General Manager of People Living with Blood Cancer Kathryn Huntley is stressing the need for more people to donate blood to help these Australians survive and live well with their diagnosis.

“More than 110,000 Australians are currently affected by blood cancer, and many of these people require regular donated blood products to manage their cancer, either as part of a life-saving treatment plan or to counter the side effects caused by the cancer itself or its treatment,” she said.

One 470ml blood donation unit includes red cells, plasma and platelets which are all separated out after donation. One acute leukaemia patient may need anywhere from 5 units to 15 units of blood every month. They could also need around 2 litres of platelets. And the reality is they could need both of these products for the duration of their diagnosis.

Research by Lifeblood shows that almost half of Australians who don’t give blood believe that road trauma is the leading cause of a person needing donated blood. Yet road trauma accounts for just two percent of Australia’s total blood usage – the least of all major causes – while cancer patients are the nation’s largest users of blood.

More than 29,000 blood donations are needed every week, and around 10,000 of them needed for cancer treatment.

“A huge 34 per cent of blood donations help treat people with cancer and blood diseases – that’s more than one third of all donations nationally – so when donations of this precious resource drop, the blood cancer community feels the impact more than almost any other,” Ms Huntley added.

“We are relying on the generosity of Australians to roll up their sleeves and donate to help boost and maintain healthy blood supplies, which are such a critical lifeline for Australians living with blood cancer,” Ms Huntley said.

Ms Huntley said this National Blood Donor Week was a prime opportunity to step up and save lives.

“With 41 people every day diagnosed with a blood cancer in Australia and this number expected to increase to close to 100 people per day by 20351, we know more Australians will become critically reliant on blood products into the future,” she said.

“The need for blood products to support blood cancer patients doesn’t stop, so neither should blood donations, and that’s why we want to see more Australians making blood donation part of a regular routine rather than a once-off exercise – now more than ever.”

National Blood Donor Week runs from 14-20 June.

To find out more about how you can support Australians living with blood cancer, visit www.leukaemia.org.au.

To join the fight against blood cancer by making a blood donation, visit www.lifeblood.com.au.