Blood Donor Centre opens its doors

‘MASSIVE’ and ‘magnificent’.

That’s how mayor Keith Rhoades described Coffs Harbour’s new Blood Donor Centre at its official opening yesterday.

The state-of-the-art centre dwarfs its predecessor at three times the size and has the capacity to increase collection from 7000 to 14,000 people per year.

“The new centre is modern, open and friendly, and even if you haven’t donated before, come and have a look and consider regular blood donation,” Cr Rhoades said.

After five years of planning, the centre’s opening means an increase of beds from four to 10 and plasma chairs from one to four.

Blood can be donated every 12 weeks and plasma every two weeks.

Rex Hollaway donates whole blood, plasma, platelets and bone marrow and has done so since he was 18 years old. Now 67, Mr Hollaway has donated 340 times.

“I began donating because my mates dared me and have ever since.

“I often donate plasma because it can be given more regularly.”

Allan Crouch has been donating blood for 51 years.

When he worked for Postmaster General he would give blood regularly and looked forward to a free milkshake.

Mr Crouch said the nurse at Grafton blood bank kept his card for emergencies.

He got an urgent call one day when twins were born and one had jaundice.

“I gave them a pint of blood and because everything was done so quickly, they forgot to stop the bleeding.

“Blood was coming through my tracksuit top and I stopped at the ex-services club for a lemon squash to regroup.

“The man next to me asked why I was bleeding and it turned out to be the baby girls’ father.”

“We’ve stayed in touch and I went to her 21st birthday,” he said.

While the Postmaster General days are over the milkshakes are not.

The Blood Donor Centre has chocolate, caramel, strawberry, banana, lime and vanilla on offer to donors.

Community relations manger NSW Richard Webb says the process takes an hour, including testing of iron levels and blood pressure, donation and resting.

“It is beneficial for everyone to have their blood checked and this analysis can give early warning to donors that something is wrong. It is basically a free medical check each time,” he said.

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