HELPING OUT: Member for Ipswich West MP Sean Choat visits the blood donor mobile unit at the Karalee Shopping Centre.
HELPING OUT: Member for Ipswich West MP Sean Choat visits the blood donor mobile unit at the Karalee Shopping Centre. David Nielsen

Donors the lifeblood of mobile van operation

WHEN it comes to giving blood, Ipswich residents are among the most generous in Queensland.

However, the Red Cross has warned that its convenient mobile blood donor vans could become a thing of the past if residents don't take full advantage of them soon.

The organisation has admitted that the establishment of a permanent blood donation centre at Riverlink Shopping Centre has contributed to a drop in the numbers of people who take advantage of the mobile unit.

Red Cross Blood Service spokeswoman Leslie Heagney said that while 30 donors were booked in to give blood at the van at Karalee on Monday, a minimum of about 50 bookings were needed to keep the service coming back.

"We know from our own research that a lot of donors come from Ipswich," Ms Heagney said.

"But a lot of people are travelling into Ipswich to give blood. We just want to remind Karalee residents that we have the van here to make it as convenient as possible for them."

The van visits Karalee one day every three months as part of its tour of Ipswich, which incorporates stops at shopping centre car parks and public places across the city.

Among those to support the service's return to Karalee Shopping Centre on Monday was Member for Ipswich West Sean Choat, who happily gave up half a litre of his blood for a good cause.

From the donation centre, Mr Choat's sample will go to a processing centre in Kelvin Grove, where it will undergo a multitude of disease tests before being used.

Australia needs an average of about 27,000 blood donations each year to help treat cancer patients, accident victims or any other people who need the blood of another person to stay alive.

The stocks need to be constantly renewed, not only because of the urgent need for blood at all times, but also because products extracted from the blood have a limited life span.

The most in-demand blood type is 0 negative, due mainly to the fact that only about 9% of the population has that blood type, and that it can be given to anyone in an emergency.



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