Coach gives a special gift at Christmas

Sharks NRL Coach Shane Flanagan gave a special gift that is certain to be appreciated by someone in the community during the festive season, visiting the Red Cross Blood Bank at Miranda today to make a blood donation.

Identified as having a rare blood type, Flanagan has become a regular donor, however in making time in his schedule in the lead up to his teams’ Christmas break, highlighted the serious need for more blood donors at this time of the year.

“From a blood bank perspective apparently my blood is AB positive, which is gold,” Flanagan said. “My blood type is only found in a small percentage of the population and is universal across all blood types and when you consider less than 30% of population donate blood and even less make plasma donations, I was happy to donate and to also help promote their cause, especially at a time of year when it is particularly important that people donate.”

Blood Service spokesperson Jemma Falkenmire urged Sharks fans and Sutherland Shire locals to follow the coach’s lead and to drop by either the Miranda branch or their local Red Cross outlet to give blood and take part in a very special ‘Secret Santa’ Christmas exchange.

Sydney blood donors are needed for Australia’s most critical ‘Secret Santa’ exchange over the next few weeks of the holiday season, in order to prevent a shortage of blood stocks vital to the treatment of a range of people who will be in need.

“If Secret Santa is the anonymous giving of gifts designed to make people’s day, then blood donation must surely be Australia’s ultimate Secret Santa exchange,” she said. “With so many people likely to be away on holidays, we need others to step forward and be an Australian patient’s ‘Secret Santa’ to ensure no one misses out on receiving that special gift.

“Your donation will be one of 27,000 blood gifts given to Australian patients this Christmas – and will have a far reaching impact on the lives you save, and the lives of their loved ones,” Ms Falkenmire said.

NSW needs additional donors this Christmas Eve and New Year to ensure a stable supply of platelets, a short-lived blood component that is vital to the treatment of cancer patients, with the Christmas to New Year period a critical time when donors are less likely to attend appointments due to holiday commitments.

“It’s really the fortnight from Christmas Eve we’re most in need of donors – it’s the trickiest time of the year because everyone stops for a break,” Ms Falkenmire added.

“The need for blood never takes a break, nor do the people who need it, which include cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, road trauma victims, new mums and their bubs, and people with chronic blood disorders.”

The Blood Service was calling on around 4,000 additional people to give blood across the state between 24 December and 4 January.

To make an appointment to give blood, call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au