Lifeblood is calling on people to support cancer patients by donating blood this month as February 4 marks World Cancer Day.
650 blood and plasma donors are needed in Darwin during February.
More than 10,000 blood donations are used every week in Australia to support cancer patients.
On average, one acute leukaemia patient in treatment needs nine units of red cells every month, or 36 units of platelets each month, with four donors needed to make up each bag of platelets.
They could need one or both products for the duration of their diagnosis which can last anywhere from eight months to years.
Lifeblood’s Cath Stone says there is a common misconception that most blood is used in trauma and emergency situations, but a third of blood and blood products are used by cancer patients.
“During chemotherapy, platelet counts can become very low so patients may receive a platelet transfusion to prevent bleeding. Or they may need a medication made from donated plasma, called IVIg, which can help them remain strong enough to fight the disease, by boosting their immune systems,” she says.
“With the number of cancer diagnoses set to increase to around 1.7 million by 2031, we know that the demand for blood and plasma will be greater than ever over the next decade, so we need people to become donors now. We need 100,000 new donors this year alone.”
To raise awareness of how donated blood and plasma can help people living with cancer Lifeblood has teamed up with fashion designer Camilla Franks who has designed a limited-edition bandage, which will be rolled onto the arms of donors at Lifeblood donor centres throughout February.
Camilla Franks says “even in the moments we feel our most helpless, there is something we can do to help a loved one living with cancer. We can give blood. I hope that this design can act as a reminder of that for people — a symbol of hope. Wearing this bandage is a way to show the world that you care.”
To book a donation, call 13 14 95 or book online at lifeblood.com.au or on the DonateBlood app.