GRAHAM Dempsey gives blood so often that the nurses joke about putting a tap in his arm and, if it were possible, he’s the type of bloke who wouldn’t pass on it.
After almost dying in a serious truck accident many decades ago and receiving a blood transfusion that helped his body heal from a horrific array of injuries, he made a pledge that if he ever made it out of hospital alive, he’d start donating.
And did he ever. Today, at 76, the grandfather will become Victoria’s biggest blood donor, clocking up his 700th donation.
This selfless act, completed once a fortnight by doing a 150km round trip from Melton to Ballarat, has helped save as many as 2100 lives. To him, the numbers mean nothing; it’s just another fortnight, another donation.
“I bleed once a fortnight,” Mr Dempsey said. “Donating blood costs nothing and it’s replaceable.” He no longer needs the reminders sent out before his appointment: “My body just knows it’s time to donate. “I’m part of the family there, I can nearly set up the machines and I get to see the nurses, who give me kisses and cuddles.
“And it’s a free medical every fortnight: they check my blood pressure and iron levels, and if there is something wrong they’ll pick it up.”
The Red Cross Blood Service needs 450 appointments filled between now and August 21 to keep up with demand. “Don’t think about it, do it,” Mr Dempsey said.
“It’s just ridiculous that healthy people do not give, and when you see all the little kid’s that need the blood, it’s heart wrenching.”
He will continue his donation dedication until the service’s cut-off age of 81.
Story Source: Herald Sun / Australian Red Cross Blood Service