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Stars Support Unsung Heroes

11 June 2004

Stars Support Unsung Heroes

New Zealand entertainment and sporting stars are supporting unsung heroes during celebrations for Monday’s inaugural World Blood Donor Day.

Squash legend Dame Susan Devoy, former All Blacks Danny Lee and Sam Harding, Lord of the Rings hero Bruce Hopkins and Silver Ferns Anna Rowberry, Sheryl Scanlan, Belinda Colling, Vilimaina Davu and Jodi Te Huna are among the celebrities who will be at New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) donor centres on Monday morning thanking blood donors for giving the precious gift of life.

Only about 4% of the New Zealand population give blood regularly, yet more than 80% of New Zealanders will need a blood transfusion or blood product during their life.

“People often don’t appreciate how important donating blood is until it affects them or their immediate family,” said NZBS chief executive Dr Graeme Benny. “That’s why we’re paying tribute to the unsung heroes who donate blood regularly and we are also calling for Kiwis to put their hands up to become donors.”

The aim of World Blood Donor Day is not to attract a big influx of new donors on the day itself, but to create wider awareness of the importance of blood donation and encourage people to become regular donors.

With every donation saving up to three lives, the blood service is always on the lookout for new donors.

Only about 4% of the New Zealand population give blood regularly, yet more than 80% of New Zealanders will need a blood transfusion or blood product during their life.

The NZBS is part of the public health service and is a national non-profit organisation which collects blood from volunteer donors for the treatment of patients across the country – from car accident victims and newborn babies, to burn victims and people with illnesses.

All blood types are currently needed from donors aged between 16-60, weighing over 50kg, have had no body piercing or tattoos in the past six months, and did not live in the UK between 1980-1996 for longer than six months.

Just 470mls of blood is taken per donation. The body replaces the fluid in 24-48 hours, and people are able to donate every three months.

You can make an appointment to become a donor by calling 0800 GIVE BLOOD or registering on the website at www.nzblood.co.nz.

RED ARMBAND FOR WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY

The New Zealand Blood Service is giving this Monday’s inaugural World Blood Donor Day a shot in the arm by creating an icon it hopes will become a global hit.

Red, pink and yellow ribbons have been used globally to support worthy causes in recent years. Now, a red armband will be trialled in New Zealand with a view to having the innovative device picked up worldwide in the future.

The red armband device has been developed because the colour signifies life-giving blood and is worn on the arm where donor blood comes from.

New Zealand Blood Service marketing manager Paul Hayes says the red armband will be used for promotional purposes for June 14’s event, but its role should be expanded in subsequent years.

“We’re confident this bit of Kiwi ingenuity will become an appropriate symbol of blood donation,” Mr Hayes said. “Our armband leaves you in no doubt what it signifies.”

In wearing the red armband you are giving thanks to the 4% of New Zealand’s adult population who currently donate blood for the 80% of us who will need blood or blood products at some stage in our life.

The aim of World Blood Donor Day is not necessarily to attract a big influx of new donors on June 14, but to create wider awareness of the importance of blood donation and encourage people to become regular donors.

Many New Zealanders will need blood or a blood product during their life, and with every donation saving up to three lives, the blood service is always on the lookout for new donors.

As part of World Blood Donor Day, NZBS is emarking on a range of activities, with particular emphasis on recognising donors as “unsung heroes”.

Photo caption: Internationally renowned fashion design Karen Walker models the red armband created for Monday’s inaugural World Blood Donor Day.

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Paul Hayes Marketing Manager NZ Blood Service Tel 0-9-523 2866 or Mob 021-650 556 FACTS ABOUT BLOOD DONATION IN NEW ZEALAND

When giving blood, approximately 470mls of blood will be donated (7% - 8% of the blood volume of an average adult, i.e. approx. 1.5 cans of soft drink).

After donating blood, the fluid is replaced within 24 hours and the red blood cells within 6-8 weeks.

There are four main blood types A, B, AB and O in the ABO blood group system.

When you become a blood donor you will be advised of your blood group.

Only about 4% of New Zealand’s adult population currently donate blood – yet over 80% of us will need blood or blood products at some stage in our life.

Just one donation can help save the lives of three people.

One donation can be separated into several components (red blood cells, platelets and plasma which is made into other blood products), each of which is used to treat different types of patients, for example, accident and burns victims, patients undergoing surgery, adults and children suffering leukemia and transplant patients.

Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s organs and tissue.

There are about one billion red blood cells in two or three drops of blood.

Red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are made in the body’s bone marrow.

Red blood cells must be transfused within 35 days of collection.

Platelets are small blood cells that help control bleeding i.e. help blood to clot.

Platelets must be transfused within 5 days of collection.

Plasma can be frozen for up to one year and blood products made from plasma can be stored for up to two years.

People who have been in accidents and suffered massive blood loss may need multiple transfusions of red blood cells

Much of today’s medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from volunteer donors.

Approximately 160,000 units of blood are collected every year in New Zealand.

People who are in good health, aged between 16 and 70 years old (60 for new donors) and weighing at least 50kgs may donate blood every 3 months

By checking a questionnaire and the haemoglobin (iron) level, a NZ Blood Service nurse ensures that a person can safely donate blood. The body will replace the fluids of the donated blood in just 24 hours. The red blood cells will be replaced in about 6 to 8 weeks. After 3 months, a person can choose to donate again.

The donation of blood itself takes approximately 10 minutes. The entire process, from when you sign in, to the time that you leave, can take up to 45 minutes

Your community needs you - please become a blood donor.

You could become a new blood donor if you’re aged between 16 years and 60, have good health and weigh at least 50kgs. For more information about blood donation or to find your nearest Blood Service location:

ENDS

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