Rex a real bloody legend
WHAT started out as a dare between two 18-year-old mates has turned into a lifetime of giving for one local.
Ernest "Rex" Holloway is a familiar face at Australian Red Cross' Coffs Harbour blood bank and this week the 73-year-old made his 400th donation.
"So many people out there need your blood and it's something you just can't buy," Rex said.
"It's not like petrol, you can't go out and get a couple litres of blood any time you need it."
Rex has been a regular donor since that first donation as a young adult and has given blood, plasma, platelets and bone marrow.
"Years ago I was a match to a bloke in Bendigo, a dad with three kids. He had a bone marrow transplant and survived his leukaemia.
"I remember his wife hugged me and said I'd given her husband a second chance at life," Rex said.
"Just do it - be a donor. You can help so many people."
Rex is one of 500,000 blood donors across Australia being recognised during National Blood Donor Week for their lifesaving efforts.
"Rex has given more than 200 litres and saved more than 1200 lives," said Jemma Falkenmire from Red Cross Blood Service NSW/ACT.
"He is very precious to us, not only for his donations but also his blood group.
"Rex is part of the 9% of the population who are Onegative. This is the universal blood type, critical to treating patients in emergency situations when blood type is unknown to clinicians," she said.
"It is the only type that can be safely given to everyone."
And how did Rex celebrate his milestone donation?
"After my milkshake and cookies at the blood bank, I went off to Park Beach Bowling Club to play bowls with my mates."
Phone 131495 or visit www.donateblood.com.au to learn more about becoming a donor.