By Danielle Kutchel
Our emergency services heroes are proving their mettle in more ways than one as the Emergency Services Blood Challenge gets underway.
From 1 June to 31 August, members of our emergency services will challenge each other to see which service’s volunteers and members can give the most blood.
Narre Warren SES controller Damian Burns said he was encouraging his unit to donate as much as they can.
Many had already risen to the challenge, he added.
“The reason why the SES is involved is because we know that it’s one of the lifesaving things that people can do, a simple thing to do.
“It helps save lives in the emergency room and theatre and it helps some people who have a blood condition and are dependent on blood, to live a normal life.”
Mr Burns said that as a regular donor himself, he has been matched to someone with a blood-borne disease, which allows him to directly help them through his donations.
As a senior nurse of 35 years, Mr Burns has also seen the impact of blood donations in critical settings like hospitals and accidents.
“You don’t realise how one donation can be split into many factors to help many different people. Your blood is not wasted,” he said.
“It’s your blood that is clasped in the hands of the emergency services and is sometimes transfused at the roadside.
“You can’t be at the roadside, but your actions can be.”
Emily Ray, a volunteer with the Narre Warren unit, donated for the very first time as part of the challenge on Thursday 3 June.
“I’ve had a lot of surgeries in the past and in a few surgeries I’ve actually needed blood so I decided it was time to give back,” she said.
“One of my friends in high school who I’ve known since he was a baby was saved by a blood donation. I just did it as soon as I could.”
Mr Burns encouraged all those who were able to donate to be “a good humanitarian” and roll up their sleeves, even if they weren’t part of an emergency service.
“It doesn’t take long, it doesn’t hurt and you get that great humanitarian feeling afterwards.
“Normal people can save lives – you don’t have to be superman.”
To find out more about donating blood, visit donateblood.com.au