GIVING blood or plasma is intimidating to some people, but not for Tinamba resident, Chris Horn.
It’s just another part of his fortnightly routine.
On Wednesday, January 17, Mr Horn reached the milestone of 300 plasma donations at the Traralgon Blood Bank.
“We drive down to Traralgon, the only place in Gippsland where you can give plasma. Whole Blood has a mobile bus that goes to Sale, Bairnsdale, but you can’t give plasma, so you have to go to Traralgon, where the machine is,” Mr Horn said.
“I enjoy going each fortnight for the plasma donations. The people at the Traralgon Blood Bank are excellent, and they are always obliging and there for a chat, make you feel welcome.”
Mr Horn said that the process for donating plasma is straightforward.
“You don’t need to have a blood test. You go in, and they check your blood pressure, your hypoglycaemia, and your blood. They give you a finger prick to check your hypoglycaemia to see if that is right. Over the years, it has grown, as has the number of questions they give you, and then they check your weight and pulse,” he said.
“Then they take you into the donation area there. The process probably takes about an hour and a half by the time you walk in, finish your donation, and have some refreshments after with some tea.”
While the process is long, Mr Horn said that helping the people who need plasma helps alleviate the wait time.
“They can use plasma for a wider range of blood issues to help many more people. That’s why I give plasma instead of whole blood,” he said.
According to Lifeblood, plasma can be used in 18 different ways.
When you give a blood donation, it contains some plasma, but when you only donate plasma, you give twice as much, and it can be done once every two weeks.
Plasma can be used for many medical purposes including chicken pox, brain disorders, immune deficiencies, tetanus, tetanus infection, Rhesus disease, measles, Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, liver disease, bone marrow transplants, haemophilia, deep vein thrombosis, heart surgery, haemorrhages, rare blood disorders, hepatitis B, kidney disease and severe burns.
The Lifeblood website says that most people who donate plasma also know someone or is related to someone who needs a plasma or blood donation.
Mr Horn started by going in with a friend while working in Frankston. Now, he has convinced his daughter, Haylee, to donate blood.
“We have got our daughter on board now. She donates plasma as well,” Mr Horn said.
“Haylee has a friend who has a baby who was born with cancer, a tumour in the brain, so she needs regular blood donations. Also, a friend of Haylee’s also needs regular blood donations because she has a chronic illness as well.”
Mr Horn said that going into the bank for the first time can be daunting, but the staff were very welcoming, making the experience more enjoyable.
“It’s an easy process. It flows well. When you give plasma, they separate your red blood cells, put them back into your system, and give you saline as well,” Mr Horn said.
“That’s why it takes a bit longer. They make you feel welcome so that it’s just part of the day once you have done it many times. You definitely need to like needles. It’s a fairly thick needle, but the staff are excellent.
“They give you a badge when you first donate to encourage you and how grateful they are.
“The first time, they will keep by and ensure you’re not fainting or anything, especially after you have been in the chair and you first get up. Some people get lightheaded. That’s why they weigh you as well. They work out how much they can take.”
Each time you donate, according to Mr Horn, you get to keep up with your health. He told the Gippsland Times he could see his blood tests on an app for the last few years.
Having completed his 300th donation, Mr Horn said he had no immediate plans to stop attending.
“I am going to keep going as long as I can – as long as I am fit and healthy,” he said.
“The other rewarding thing is that they give your health statistics on an app so I can check the last two years of my blood pressure, weight, and hypoglycaemia. It’s a check-up as well. They also do blood tests when they take your blood, so it is a check-up. They will even notify you if anything isn’t right.”
The Lifeblood website contains things such as different types of donations, the process of donating, conditions for donating, preparation and aftercare, and blood banks in the area.
For those unsure of their blood type, the team at Lifeblood can help you find out during your session.
To book an appointment to donate, call 13 14 95, visit lifeblood.com.au or download the Donate Blood app.