Blood: the gift of life
FEAR of the needles and the unknown were the two main reasons Kristen Schiemer had never given blood.
That is until she started working with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS) and felt a bit of pressure.
"I was nervous the first time, but then I found the big needle doesn't actually hurt and now it's a piece of cake," Ms Schiemer said.
The Blood Service is urging people to spare a little of their time after the New Year break to make urgently needed donations this week.
According to ARCBS spokesperson Jemma Falkenmire, there is a particular need across the State for platelets.
"Platelets are a componenet of blood, which are extracted from a whole blood donation," she said.
"They play a vital part in the survival of cancer patients, particularly children with leukaemia, but they only last five days.
"We urgently need to stock up for people receiving treatment this holiday week."
Four whole blood donations are needed to make just one bag of platelets.
Some cancer patients need one to two bags each week.
Ms Schiemer said donors should allow at least one hour for their donation and first time donors about an hour and a half.
She said a donation can be stopped at any time should the donor become stressed.
In Coffs Harbour donations can be made at 72 Victoria Street on Tuesday (12.30pm to 6.30pm) and Thursday (8am to 12pm).
The mobile blood service van will be in Macksville on Wednesday between 12.30pm and 4.30pm.
Appointments can be made by calling 131 495.