O positive news for blood service

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 14/06/2014

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Timaru blood donors are pumping out the good stuff, including the much-needed O positive variety.

The New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) has been in Timaru this week as part of its regular blood drive.

Eighty-five people attended a community open day on Wednesday, and a further 95 students from Timaru Boys' and Girls' High Schools on Thursday.

Of the donors who gave blood at the community day, there were 25 with the much-needed blood type O positive.

It is the most common blood type in the country, which means it is highly sought after, team leader of recruitment Alison Keast said.

The latest drive had helped. "But we obviously need to still bring that up - we're still sitting too low."

It was not yet known how much of each blood type was donated by the students because 61 of them were new donors, so their blood types had not yet been tested, Keast said.

An estimated 38 per cent of people nationwide will have O positive blood, she said. The next most sought after blood type is A positive, followed by O negative, which is universal, meaning it is compatible with any blood type.

In a move to get more people donating blood, the service has started a campaign encouraging people to sign up to a pledge.

The concept was launched yesterday, World Blood Donor Day.

Nationwide, 115 people need blood and blood products every day - that is 42,000 people every year.

However, NZBS national manager for marketing and communications, Asuka Burge, said the service loses up to 28,000 donors each year due to retirement, ill health or personal choice.

"By pledging your support, you're helping spread the word about blood donation and most importantly, helping NZBS build its donor database, which constantly needs new donors.

"One donation has the potential to save up to three people's lives," Burge said.

Those who join the pledge and are eligible to give blood will be notified on how to book appointments to donate.

To join the pledge visit the New Zealand Blood Service Facebook page or nzblood.co.nz.

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- The Timaru Herald

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