It goes without saying that giving blood is one of the most selfless things you can do. Something that takes only a few minutes of your time can save up to three lives, and add countless years to the recipient’s own life.
Needless to say, something so simple should be a widespread occurrence, right? Well, sadly, it’s far less common than that. In fact, a third of men will require blood products in their lifetime, and current projections show that only one in 30 will donate.
But how do we close that gap and ensure that everyone who needs blood gets it, and everyone who can give blood gives it?
However, the process can indeed feel daunting, especially for first-timers who’ve not gone through it all before. One such pair of first-timers are Oli and Louis Liembach – better known as Lime Cordiale – who dipped into the Marrickville donor centre to share their own experiences with donating blood for the Movember campaign.
As they turn up at Lifeblood, the Leimbach brothers are introduced to Josh, and to the facilities, and walk through some of the facts and figures relating to blood donation in Australia. Incredulous to the fact that only one in 30 men will donate blood, the brothers note that the reasoning behind such a low number is that many don’t donate until it affects someone they would care about. “One in 30?” they ask. “How about two in 60? That sounds better!”
As Oli and Louis get taken through the admin process separately, they’re questioned about the eligibility, have their height and weight taken, and taken in for an interview (“are you a good cop or a bad cop?” they joke), all while asking about what’s involved along the way.
The pair have their blood pressure taken privately, get introduced to the squeezy ball used to keep the veins strong and blood flowing (which they promptly name “the squish”), and go about donating their blood.
“So why do you test the blood?” they ask Josh. “We’re testing for a couple of different things. We’re testing for any viruses, just to make sure that your donation won’t affect a recipient that is already in a fragile state. We’re testing for possible immunities.
“We can actually use some of your immunity to create more products, such as vaccinations” he adds as the brothers expand their knowledge. “We also check your blood group so you’ll be able to find out your blood type.”
With their blood taken, and now in the rest mode, the pair get introduced to their favourite part of the donation process – the snacks. As they get stuck into chips and drinks to replenish their fluids, they reflect on why they donate blood.
“For my mum, because others can’t, and because it’s a privilege,” says Louis. “It’s free and it can save a life.”
Given a limited edition Movember bandage to mark the occasion, the pair wrap things up by talking about what they’ve learned from the experience, before urging others to follow in their footsteps and help to close the immense gap between those who need blood and those who donate.
“I think I was surprised that one in three people need blood,” they explain. “That’s insane. We really should be aiming for one in three people giving blood as well.
“It’s a very sobering stat, that one. It’s so easy for that to be a family member or a friend that needs it, but it’s so much less likely that it’s someone that’s giving it,” they add.
“This Movember, roll up your sleeves for men’s health,” say Oli and Louis. “Give blood and donate to support your mates.”
As Lime Cordiale say, roll up your sleeves for Men’s Health throughout the month of Movember. Search Lifeblood to book a donation today, and help make a difference in the lives of those who need it.