2 September 2023

Seeing red for a cause: Wagga teachers roll up their sleeves to help Lifeblood reach state target

| Jarryd Rowley
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man making blood donation

Wagga Wagga Public School staff members Jo Nielsen and Sam Wilkes were among 20 donors who gave blood and plasma on Tuesday as part of Lifeblood’s NSW and Queensland Schools Blood Drive. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Teachers from more than 10 schools across Wagga Wagga are rolling up their sleeves as part of a NSW and Queensland-based blood drive that hopes to save 3000 lives across Australia.

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood’s Queensland and New South Wales Schools Blood Drive, which will run until the end of October, targets teachers, parents and guardians to join their local school communities to donate blood and plasma.

Lifeblood Wagga Wagga is hoping to receive more than 100 donations during the campaign.

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Wagga Wagga Public School teacher Alexandra Brentnall said local teachers were calling on their school communities to come together and make an impact.

“With one in three people needing blood in their lifetime, you never know when it might be a family member, a neighbour or someone from your community who needs it,” Ms Brentnall said.

“Last year, Wagga Lifeblood Teams school donors contributed more than 85 donations of blood and plasma to the blood drive, saving 255 lives.

“We hope to save even more lives this year. Every drop counts and all it takes is an hour of time.”

Ms Brentnall said she was thankful to the Wagga Public School staff for supporting the campaign.

“We have five new donors from our school alone participating this year and about 20 in total,” she said.

“I think by having a number of us come at the same time to support one another and do it all together, it helps the people who are a bit needle-shy feel a bit more comfortable.”

Despite having already donated blood and plasma as a part of the drive, Ms Brentnall said she and colleagues from Wagga Public School and surrounds would look to donate again before the campaign ended in October.

“So when you donate plasma, you’re able to donate every fortnight,” she said.

“Our Wagga school district is ranked fairly high in the number of donations of this year’s challenge so far and we are looking to keep pushing that.

“If you are a member of the school community and want to donate, come down to Lifeblood Wagga Wagga and say you are a part of the Wagga Wagga school network and your donation will be included.”

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Ms Brentnall said despite donating not being about competition, she would like to see NSW beat Queensland in the total number of donations.

“If you’re sitting on the fence about donating, it’s honestly worth coming down and giving it a go,” she said.

“All the staff are so friendly and so well trained, from the moment you walk through the door. And afterwards, once you’ve finished donating, you get to have one of the best milkshakes in town.”

Wagga donor centre manager Neil Wright said the school network drive had been influential in bringing in new donors but emphasised that more were always needed.

“Whether you work for a local school, your children go to one or you went to one, you can join their team and there are three Australians out there that will benefit from your blood donation,” he said.

To book a donation either as a group or an individual, call 13 14 95 or click here.

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