Donating is in the blood

Every Thursday for the past 44 years Gwenda Husson has volunteered at the Traralgon Blood Donor Centre.

Be it as a blood donor or centre supervisor, the 76 year-old has dedicated her time to supporting the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

It’s an effort that should be commended, but Ms Husson said her time was nothing when compared to what the service had given her.

“My nephew had a nasty motorcycle accident and needed many, many units of blood,” Ms Husson said.

“This is just something I can do as a way to give back.”

Ms Husson has shared her story in the hope of inspiring others to do the same.

As she puts it, you’ll never know when you or someone you love may rely on a blood donation.

It could happen to anyone, she said, yet it was the same people donating time and time again.

But whole blood can only be donated once every three months, while plasma – the clotting part of blood – needs to be taken every fortnight.

“You can’t do it all the time, so more donors are needed,” Ms Husson said.

Winter and the holiday periods are times when donors are in even shorter supply, prompting the organisation to put out a call for more donations.

This Thursday and Friday, coinciding with Australia Day, the Traralgon service requires 70 locals to roll up their sleeves and donate.

It’s a painless, quick procedure that can change the lives of up to three people.

“The worst thing to happen is the finger prick, to check your haemoglobin level,” Ms Husson said.

Haemoglobin is an iron-containing protein found in red blood cells, responsible for carrying oxygen around the body.

If levels are too low, muscles and organs can be restricted of vital oxygen needed to function.

This, along with a “mini medical” are taken before the donation of any blood.

Ms Husson said this pre-assessment shut down the typical ‘I can’t give blood’ excuse many potentially eligible donors use to put off donating.

The hard part, she said, was getting them there in the first place.

“The centre’s nurses won’t let you give blood unless it’s safe to do so,” she said.

“You don’t know (if you can donate) until you’ve been and tried.

“And that’s all we ask – for you to try.”

To make an appointment with the blood service phone 13 14 95 or visit

The Traralgon centre, located at 20 Seymour Street, will be open 10.30am to 6pm Thursday and 7.30am to 3pm Friday.