Attention Mandurah: An appeal for extra blood donors

It takes 18 people donating blood monthly to treat just one person living with blood cancer.

That is why this National Blood Donor Week, June 9-15, the Leukaemia Foundation is challenging more Australians to step up and become a regular blood donor.

More than 100,000 Australians are currently affected by blood cancer, including people in your local community, and many of these people require regular donated blood products to manage their cancer.

What many people don't realise is the sheer volume of blood needed to support blood cancer patients.

More than a third of all blood donations collected by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service go towards supporting cancer patients and people living with blood diseases - and with good reason.

One 470ml blood donation unit includes red cells, plasma and platelets. On average, one acute leukaemia patient will need nine units - or 2.25 litres - of red blood cells each month, or just over 1 litre (36 units) of platelets each month during treatment.

This means for every blood cancer patient, we need 18 Australians to roll up their sleeves every month - not just once, but for every month of that person's treatment time, which can be anything from eight months on average through to a number of years.

With 35 people every day diagnosed with a blood cancer in Australia and this number expected to increase to close to 50 people per day by 2025, we know more Australians will become critically reliant on blood products into the future.

Take the leap and become a donor legend today.

Find out more about how you can support people living with blood cancer in your community at www.leukaemia.org.au or to join fight against blood cancer by making a blood donation, visit www.donateblood.com.au.

Bill Petch is Leukaemia Foundation chief executive.