In 2003, Jarna Findlay had a combined kidney and pancreas transplant. She received a number of blood transfusions during the operation; the blood helped save her life. Jarna talks to us about her new role within the Blood Donor Centre here in Port Macquarie and how important and easy it is to donate.
Hi Jarna, you have recently become the new manager at the Port Macquarie Blood Donor Centre. Tell us a bit about yourself …
I have a history of employment in government and finance and am looking to put my practical skills and education into a role that is ‘good’ to its very core. There is no feeling like being involved in a process that can help save a person’s life. Donations from Port Macquarie could be helping your family, your neighbour, or even you!
What changes await the centre now you have become the manager?
I am hoping to bring some ‘new blood’ through the door.
Port Macquarie is responsible for approximately 1,200 donations a month to ensure there are blood supplies for patients in need.
We need many more people from Port Macquarie to start rolling up their sleeves to keep blood supplies flowing.
Port Macquarie has a fantastic team who are ready to take you through the wonderful experience of saving lives!
You have experienced first hand the need for blood. What happened?
In 2003 I had a combined kidney and pancreas transplant at Westmead Hospital. I was dying from renal failure and received numerous blood transfusions during the operation.
The blood helped save my life. Without it, I could not have survived the operation. I know there are many people like myself who owe their lives to the generosity of blood donors.
I am now healthy and well and have a great quality of life – no dialysis or insulin injections and I am able to do all the things any normal person would.
To anyone who has ever thought about giving blood, I would say, “Yes please”. As a person who has received blood transfusions, I can say that there are no words to describe the gratitude towards people who help others in this way. There will always be a silent ‘thank you’ in the back of my mind for those who helped save my life.
Why is it important to donate blood?
Only three percent of Australians roll up their sleeves to make lifesaving blood donations, yet one in three of us will need it in our lifetime.
We will need it to save the lives of our unborn babies, to help us battle cancer, to save us dying from road trauma and to help people through various other life-threatening illnesses.
When somebody is ready to donate blood, what is the process?
Blood donation is one of the easiest ways to help people.
There are a few things you need to do before you donate blood. Ensure that you eat something substantial and have plenty of water or juice the day before donation. Bring your photo identification.
On arrival, you will be asked to complete a form that asks questions about your general health. It is designed to protect both you and the person who receives your blood. You will then be interviewed by a
trained staff member to assess your suitability.
The tiny pinch of the needle only lasts a couple of seconds.
We take 470 ml of blood in one donation. The actual donation itself will only take 5 to 10 minutes. This is less than 10% of your total blood volume and may be donated safely every 12 weeks.
Your body keeps on discarding and replenishing blood all the time, whether you give blood or not, so this amount is quickly replaced.
After giving blood, you will be given your choice of something to eat and drink while relaxing in the refreshment area.
You’ll then be asked if you’d like to book another appointment. Blood has a short shelf life, and rebooking helps us ensure a consistent blood supply for those who need it. It’s also good for you – get the appointment time you want!
What happens to blood after a donation?
Once the blood is taken, the clock starts to tick. Blood needs to be processed as quickly as possible, as orders from the hospitals come in constantly. Before it can be released to the hospitals and delivered to patients, the blood is tested and processed.
What are the most need blood types?
The good news is that whatever blood group you are, you will be a match for someone in need. All blood groups are special and needed every day.
Your blood donation will be broken down into three components: red cells, plasma, and platelets.
The red cells may go to a road accident victim or a new mother undergoing surgery post birth. The platelets will more than likely be used to help a cancer or Leukaemia patient, and the plasma may be used to help a haemophilic or a young child with an immune disorder. Plasma is like liquid gold! It can be used to make as many as 17 lifesaving medical products.
How can readers help out?
This story was found on issue 84 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus