Kiwis 'not too bad' at giving blood, but more needed

Kiwis 'not too bad' at giving blood, but more needed

It's World Blood Donor Day, and a few familiar faces dropped into a Christchurch blood bank today to raise awareness and give blood.

The New Zealand Blood Service needs 3000 donations of blood each week to meet medical demands.

"We have 110,000 blood donors -- that equates to about less than 4 percent of population," says Asuka Burge, national manager of marketing and communications. 

Four percent sounds low but it's not "too bad", she says, although the service is always on the lookout for more.

Jason Gunn, More FM weekday host, thought he would do his part today and donate.

His other half on the show, Lana, has needed blood transfusions recently and so as a show of support, Mr Gun went to a Christchurch blood centre to offer up a vein.

While he did feel a bit "faint", it was worth it and encouraged others to not wait until the next World Blood Donor day to donate. 

World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, who discovered the main blood groups.

Blood lasts only 35 days so there is always a constant need, Ms Burge says. A single donation can help save the life of up to three people.

"That blood goes towards saving people who are accident victims, cancer patients, children, and it's not just your one-off types of surgeries as well -- it's actually also sick people who have got lifelong immune deficiencies.

"It is life-changing and life-saving. It really does help with people's quality of life too."

The NZ Blood Service has just launched an app which allows you to find out if you're eligible to donate, where you can donate and book an appointment.

"We have a wonderful base of donors that we would love to thank this World Blood Donor Day, but we're always looking for new donors to come on board too," Ms Burge says.

You can view the NZ Blood website and how to dontate here.