Team Red: Enable NZ

Josephine always knew she wanted to become a blood donor – the thought of potentially saving three lives with a single whole blood donation always appealed to her but a serious needle phobia kept her constantly at bay. That is, until recently, when she signed up to her workplaces’ Team Red.

Josephine works as a Webmaster for Enable NZ, a division of the MidCentral District Health Board that provides disability information services, disability equipment and disability needs assessments for the Ministry of Health and ACC contracts, among others. Josephine and her colleagues are already avid helpers to those in need, so it’s no surprise Team Red would flourish in this particular work environment.

New Zealand Blood Service’s (NZBS) Team Red motivates individuals to make group donations and it’s open to businesses, organisations, sports clubs and even groups of friends. Its sole purpose is to bring people together to donate blood and upon learning this, Josephine knew this was her opportunity to overcome her lifelong fear of needles. The support she found through her work colleagues and Team Red was reassuring and just what she needed to make the commitment to join the donor registry.

“I have always had a thing with needles, bit of a childhood trauma”, says Josephine. “I always wanted to donate but kept saying ‘maybe’, ‘one day’ – I was just too scared. Through Team Red, I realised it wasn’t so scary. Our job here at Enable NZ is to take care of those in need and it felt like being afraid of needles wasn’t really an excuse anymore to not donate.”

“It’s free and it saves lives, three in fact! It’s pretty simple. So, get a group together and give it a go if you’re afraid, and it’ll help - trust me.”

Enable NZ’s Marketing and Communications Specialist and Team Red captain, Rhi, says she’s found Team Red great for team morale. Not only has Josephine overcome a lifelong fear, but another one of her staff members has decided to donate blood for the first time ever at the age of 60.

“Team Red has been really great to help boost the camaraderie within our staff. Once someone is part of the team, I’ve got little magnets I give them which they then stick on their lockers, as a bit of a reward and a way of keeping track of our Team Red participants”, says Rhi.

“I also keep tabs of the potential lives we’ve saved on the staff room walls to show our team what we’ve been able to achieve together. The app is also great as well, my team members all love receiving the texts saying their blood has been used. Giving something back like this is a really cool thing to do, and the fact that we get to do it as a company is even cooler.”

While only six months in the role, Rhi’s not only recruited Josephine but also 20 of her fellow staff members, and potentially saving over 60 lives through their Team Red donations. Due to having lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996, Rhi is unable to donate blood in New Zealand. Despite her permanent deferral, she sports her Team Red captain hat proudly and continues to raise team spirits whilst reiterating there are always ways to help.

If you think your workplace would be keen to join Team Red and you ‘needle’ little help signing up, click here or call 0800 GIVE BLOOD.

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