Students roll up sleeves to help

THOUSANDS of people need blood to stay alive this week, and a group of Coffs Coast school students have rolled up their sleeves to make it happen.

Students from Bellingen High School made the pilgrimage down the mountain to Coffs Harbour on Friday to donate blood to the Australian Red Cross.

The mass donation by the 17 students couldn't have come at a better time, with the Red Cross reporting that blood stocks are severely low.

Every week Australia needs 21,000 donations to maintain an adequate blood supply, but national operations manager Dr Pip Hetzel said the service is currently not reaching the target.

“Winter is always a difficult time and recently collections have been on the decline and blood stocks are low,” Dr Hetzel said.

“We know that there are many potential donors out there and we're asking you to come forward and support your community - you never know when someone close to you will need blood vital to their health.”

The plea comes at a time when a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has found that the average Australian spends almost 20 hours a week on personal hygiene, time the Red Cross believes could easily be spent saving lives.

Red Cross suggests that reducing routine activities such as primping and cleaning by as little as five minutes a day would free up time to donate blood.

“Implementing time saving tips into practice for a week would save over an hour - enough time to give blood to help people with cancer, blood disorders and heart disease,” Dr Hetzel said.

“You have so much to give that making just minor changes to a busy life can make time to help save lives.”

Dr Hetzel said it took an hour to give blood and each donation helped to save three lives.

To give blood, call 13 14 95 or visit to make an appointment.

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