Each week, Lifeblood requires the blood donations of 31,000 Australians in order to meet the needs of patients. However, growing cancellation numbers mean that figure cannot be met.
According to Samantha Bartlett, Lifeblood’s Marketing Director, “Over the last 12 months, with the rise of people working from home, people’s donating habits have changed,” she explained.
The knock-on effects of living with the coronavirus pandemic mean that blood donors are cancelling appointments, and the cooler months are of no help either.
Facebook X Lifeblood
In an effort to pump some awareness into this issue, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood has teamed up with Facebook to design a new Blood Donations feature that has already had 100 million international users sign up to assist.
The feature offers Facebook users aged between 18 and 65 the option to register for notifications about blood donor opportunities near them. They’ll also have the ability to invite pals to come along with them through Facebook Events.
How to sign up for Facebook’s Blood Donations feature
If you’re an angel on earth and would like to do more in the way of donating blood, simply search the term Blood Donation on Facebook, then click on Blood Donations under Facebook shortcuts and the option to Get Updates about blood donor opportunities will appear.
According to data shared by Facebook, “In the first two months after our US launch in June 2019, the Blood Donations feature increased donations from first-time blood donors at partner sites by 19%”.
On the potential for change in Australia with this feature, Bartlett said:
“We know Facebook is a great way to spread the message about giving blood and for people to encourage others to get involved as well, so we’re excited about the blood donation feature.
“In Australia, this means we’re able to let people who have updated their profile know when a blood donor centre nearby needs their help.”
The feature is intended to help encourage younger Australians to become regular donors. When you consider that one in three Australians will need blood or blood products in their lifetime, and that every blood donation can save up to three lives, that’s a pretty powerful thing.
Who can donate blood?
Lifeblood Australia told Lifehacker Australia:
Generally speaking, if you’re within the age range and feeling fit and well you may be able to donate. If you aren’t sure, or maybe you haven’t checked if you can donate for a while, please don’t rule yourself out, give us a call and we can see if blood donation is right for you.
Modelling shows there are around 14 million Australians eligible to donate blood, yet only around 500,000 do so there are plenty of people who can currently donate and we’re encouraging those who can to book in.
It is worth noting, however, that there are some restrictions on donating. The Red Cross Lifeblood service eased restrictions on blood donations against men who have sex with men and transgender donors in January 2021. Currently, there is a three-month abstinence requirement and previously there was a 12 month sexual postponement period, Lifeblood states. The ABC recently took a look at this situation here.