Telstra workers roll up their sleeves

THREE Coffs Harbour Telstra employees will today roll up their sleeves as part of Australia's biggest ever corporate blood drive.

The Australian Red Cross will be collecting blood from more than 2200 Telstra employees in 85 per cent of its collection centres around Australia.

One blood donation can help up to six people so collectively the donations from the Coffs Harbour employees could save the lives of nine people.

Telstra area general manager for the Mid North Coast Jim Atkins said local support for the national program had been fantastic.

"Our employees have really rallied behind this important cause and we've had three people register to give blood," he said.

Mr Atkins said he hoped the initiative would encourage employees to become regular donors and urged other Australian companies to follow its lead to donate.

"One in 30 Australians donates blood, yet one in three of us will need blood or blood products during our lifetime, including many of Telstra's own employees here in Coffs Harbour," Mr Atkins said.

Dr Phillipa Hatzel from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service said Telstra's landmark initiative would make a difference.

"Due to the many ways blood is processed, just one blood donation can help up to three people, so the generosity of Telstra's employees can potentially benefit 6600 people," she said.

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