Team Red: McVeagh Fleming

While some people wouldn’t necessarily welcome the idea of weighing one or two kilos more, for Fiona, it actually meant she was finally able to fulfil a life-long dream of becoming a blood donor.

“I’d always wanted to donate blood, so to finally get to do it was quite an event for me”, says Fiona who was always shy of meeting the 50kg weight requirement to become a donor. “I think it’s important to help out if we can, you never know if a family member or friend might need blood someday and you shouldn’t have to be in debt before you consider helping…”

Ecstatic to make her first few donations, Fiona spread the word to her colleagues at McVeagh Fleming law firm. What was at first just office banter soon blossomed into a thriving group donation programme, or as New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) calls it, Team Red – an initiative that is open to all work places, social clubs, and groups of friends and serves to encourage people to donate blood in groups.

Fiona had only donated twice before she started wondering about bringing her colleagues along. She asked NZBS staff if it was possible to donate in large numbers and quickly found Team Red was exactly what she was looking for.

“I went on to the NZBS website to see if you could book for numerous people and came across Team Red”, says Fiona. “It all happened quite organically from there. I was just trying to do a group donation and turns out Team Red is exactly that!”.

“It’s a lot easier and more comforting going with people you know”, says Fiona. “There are a few of us now that are quite competitive, and we have races on fastest donation times. It also helps keep team spirits high to see the impact we’re making as a team – in the end it’s all about saving lives”.

Since joining Team Red, Fiona has recruited over 13 staff members to the team and can normally count on at least one new member at each donation. Team Red has certainly struck a chord with McVeagh Fleming and has even encouraged some staff members to share their personal stories.

“One of our colleagues received two blood transfusions as a baby and she’s joined the donor registry simply to return the favour”, says Fiona. “Another colleague has been a regular blood donor for several years and has made over 80 donations. He’s had a cancer scare recently and is waiting for the all clear before he can donate again. There are personal ties to NZBS at McVeagh Fleming, but even if there weren’t, we’d donate anyway”.

According to Fiona, it’s stories like these that encourage her and her colleagues to continue donating. Thanks to their collaborative efforts, this Team Red has potentially saved over 140 lives and are keen to save many more.

To find out more about starting your own Team Red, click here or call 0800 GIVE BLOOD.

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