Blood Service NZ urgently calls for more donors as demand continues to rise

The number of people donating blood is plummeting while at the same time, demand for it is going through the roof. 

Every year, a quarter of those who have donated blood stop giving and it's getting harder to find people to replace them.

Every year since 2015, more than 25,000 people have stopped giving blood. Last year was even direr as almost 29,633 stopped. 

And to make matters worse, demand is at an all-time high. 

There is a massive need for plasma especially. Demand has increased by 38 percent since 2016.

By 2020 that's expected to grow by up to 60 percent, which means 100,000 new donors are needed.

It's prompted the Blood Service to kick off a new campaign with a familiar face.

Sir Graham Henry is now too old to donate, but he wants others to pick up the reigns. 

"I used to be a donor apparently I'm too old. I'm in my prime!" he said.

The new campaign launches on Tuesday and comes at a crucial time. 

Annette Roberts has done it more than any other Kiwi woman. Over 53 years she's donated more than 400 times. 

"It's so easy to help someone so why wouldn't you come in and do it," she said.

She says it's the easiest way to save a life. But people like Annette are getting harder to find. 

"How difficult is it to replace them? It's a constant challenge. I'm not going to pretend it is easy - we don't normally run major ad campaigns this year we decided we need to do something different," said Blood Service CEO Sam Cliffe.

And it's plasma, the golden liquid part of blood, that's desperately needed as it's being used in more and more life-saving products. 

Thankfully it's just as easy as giving whole blood.  

"It's very easy actually. I used to come and have a cup of tea and a bickie, they were very nice - don't get bickies at home -  you lie on the bed, they put a little thing in your arm and they take blood," said Sir Henry.

Not a bad way to spend an hour and save a life.  



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