Every drop counts this Blood Challenge
- This year’s Lifeblood Emergency Services Blood Challenge runs 1 June to 31 August.
- Kick-started by the first ever donation by St John WA Group CEO Kevin Brown, a UK ex-pat, St John WA is once again vying to top the Challenge in WA.
- Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is calling for additional donations over the winter period as the cold and flu season, combined with ongoing COVID-19 cases, contributes to a national blood donor shortage.
The 2023 Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Emergency Services Blood Challenge has started, with St John WA hoping to come out on top for the sixth consecutive year.
Running 1 June to 31 August, the challenge invites emergency services teams and their supporters to donate blood or plasma and help save lives.
Committed to saving lives in any way they can, the St John WA team has won the Australian Red Cross Emergency Services Blood Challenge in WA every year since 2018.
In 2022 the team made 409 donations, meaning more than 1200 lives were saved by the life-giving legends, which included paramedics, volunteers, and administration and support staff – along with their family members and friends.
This year’s Challenge launch event at Lifeblood’s Perth CBD Donor Centre, saw a presence from the three major WA emergency services agencies, with St John WA’s Group CEO Kevin Brown taking to the donor chair alongside Police Commander Alan Morton and DFES (Dept of Fire and Emergency Services) Assistant Commissioner Rick Curtis.
The trio were joined by representatives from their respective organisations, including several metropolitan paramedics and Kura the paramedic bear and the occasion marked Mr Brown’s first ever blood donation in Australia.
“Our people are in the business of saving lives every day, so donating blood was the least I could do to show my support for this great cause,” he said.
“I have a new-found appreciation for blood and blood product donation, and I’m proud to join so many dedicated donors – old and new.
“The St John’s team are called upon in times of need and emergencies, They are phenomenal people and I’m so proud they step up to save lives by donating blood and plasma.
“Regardless of whether we top the challenge or not, they’re all heroes,” he said.
Mr Brown, who hails from Scotland, would not have been eligible to donate in Australia a year ago due to the rule around people living in the UK between 1980 and 1996 being potentially exposed to outbreak of human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), often known as ‘mad cow disease’.
This rule was lifted in Australia in July 2022, increasing the pool of prospective blood donors significantly.
“I’m grateful this rule has been lifted as means many more people who now call Australia home are eligible to give blood,” Mr Brown said.
Make an appointment to donate during the Challenge by calling 13 14 95, visiting lifeblood.com.au or the Donate Blood app, ensuring you join the St John WA Lifeblood group.