Sharks coach a ‘special’ donor

With the Australian Red Cross Blood Service appealing with "particular urgency" for O-negative blood donors, Sharks Coach Shane Flanagan was only too happy to assist.

Flanagan is O-negative, the blood type particularly critical for use in emergency situations which is stocked on ambulances and rescue helicopters and is always used when a patient's blood group is unknown.

Answering the call, with the blood service needing 4500 O-negative blood type donors between now and the end of July, Flanagan dropped into the Miranda Blood Donor Centre last week with Sharks mascot Reefy, in making his contribution to the cause.

An increase in demand for O-negative blood, combined with a fall in donor numbers due to cold and flu symptoms, made Flanagan's blood donation both timely and critical to the supply of the special blood type.

One-third of those donors are needed in NSW, according to an Australian Red Cross Blood Service NSW spokesperson and while donations from people with all blood types are always welcome, there is a particular need for O-negative blood right now.

While people might be keen to donate, the blood service spokeswoman said it was important donors are well.

"Because patients in hospital are quite sick and have weak immune systems, unfortunately blood donors have to be at least seven days clear of cold and flu symptoms, and that might just be a sniffle or a cough," she said. "But unfortunately, people need to be 100 per cent fit and well to donate blood because those patients are vulnerable."

Blood donation takes about an hour and everyone gets a free health check before they donate, with the blood put to work quickly, often within as little as 48 hours from the time it is donated.

For local Sutherland Shire residents, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Miranda Donor Centre is in Kiora Road, Miranda. Call 13 14 95 or go to the website at https://www.donateblood.com.au/blood-donor-centre/shire-donor-centre-sutherland-s to make an appointment or to find out more.

For those outside the Cronulla district, go to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service website at https://www.donateblood.com.au/ to find your nearest centre.