‘Volunteering is part of my life’

‘Volunteering is part of my life’, Lee-Anne explains. Over the years she’s given her time and skills as an Ambulance Officer for St John Ambulance Services and as a Volunteer Manager for the Cancer Society.

Lee-Anne’s employer, FMG, has a ‘Give Back Day’ and supports New Zealand Blood Service on the bus that shuttles donors from their offices to the Donor Centre. Lee-Anne thought that she couldn’t give blood after having had a blood clot in the past but immediately signed up as a volunteer.

‘I went along to the Mobile Blood Drive at Massey University as a volunteer, chatting to the donors and serving tea and refreshments.’ Little did Lee-Anne know that she would soon be volunteering as a blood donor. ‘Talking to the nurses I discovered that I was actually eligible to donate blood. That day I also found out that New Zealand really needs more plasma donors. I know that not everyone can give plasma because of the extra eligibility criteria you need to meet so I was stoked when I found out I was eligible.’

Many people she talks to say to her ‘I don’t have time to give blood’, but Lee-Anne thinks it is a matter of priorities. ‘We’re all time-poor,’ she says, ‘so it takes a bit of effort to fit it in, but you just make it work. I go on my way to work at the moment and I’ve already booked in my next three appointments after work. When you think about it, it’s not a big chunk of time. For me, donating plasma takes about an hour of my time every three or four weeks.’

When she first donated, her kids and colleagues said ‘eugh, yuck!’ but fortunately Lee-Anne isn’t squeamish. Anyway, ‘it doesn’t hurt one bit’ she says. Lee-Anne also comes back to the Donor Centre time and again because it gives her a chance to put her feet up. ‘The people who work there are lovely, and I get to read my book and have a drink brought to me.’

So it’s not a hard thing to do? ‘It’s easy,’ Lee-Anne says.

Can you help?

If you’re a whole blood donor, why not consider switching to plasma donation? To become a plasma donor, you need to:

  • Be 18-60 years old
  • Meet certain height and weight requirements  (Take the quiz to see if you’re eligible!)
  • Have donated whole blood at least once in the last two years
  • Meet donor eligibility requirements listed in the donor questionnaire
  • Have suitable veins and haemoglobin levels
  • Can donate at the Epsom, North Shore, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin Donor Centres.

To find out more about becoming a plasma donor, click here or call 0800 GIVE BLOOD.

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