Amira's plea - keep donating blood to save lives
The Port Adelaide mum at the centre of an urgent appeal for rare blood has thanked people across Australia for helping to save her life through blood donation and urged them to keep donating to help others.
It’s been almost three months since Amira Soliman had a critical procedure on her heart. She is now able to enjoy dropping her sons to school and watching them play soccer.
Amira’s procedure was made possible because of the instant public response to the appeal for donors to match her complex blood type. As a result, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood was able to identify enough compatible blood in Australia and through the International Rare Blood Network to meet Amira’s needs.
Today, 37-year-old Amira is grateful for everyone who rolled up a sleeve to donate, with numbers particularly strong in her home state of South Australia.
“I honestly did not know if enough suitable blood would be found, but my hopes rose each day just hearing about how many people, kind strangers, were donating. I thank you all,” Amira said.
“I was especially touched by the people who donated for the first time. Please keep going and lock in your next donation.
“There are thousands of people just like me who rely on blood and blood products. Blood not only saves and enhances lives; it provides hope to families when they need it most.”
The appeal for Amira motivated more than 5,400 people to donate for the first time nationally in a two-week period, including 960 people in South Australia. These donors are now eligible to donate again, but figures show 70 per cent have not returned or booked another appointment nationally, while the figure in South Australia is 77 per cent.
Amira was joined by her husband Ahmed El Hayes and Lifeblood Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Cornelissen AM at the Lifeblood Donor Centre at Regent Arcade in Adelaide today.
CEO Stephen Cornelissen AM said the outpouring of goodwill and compassion in response to the appeal was phenomenal.
“Amira’s story resonated with people far and wide, and nowhere was this more evident than in South Australia where we saw such an influx of people wanting to donate that we extended our opening hours and flew staff from interstate to keep up with the demand.”
He said while the uplift in donations during the appeal for Amira was incredible, regular donors are the key to meeting the ongoing needs of patients everywhere.
“Every 18 seconds, someone somewhere in Australia depends on a blood or plasma donation and we’re relying on about 3% of the population to make sure it’s available when needed. What we really need is for more people to become donors, and to make donating a regular habit.
“We know there are nearly a thousand people in South Australia who donated for the first time because of Amira and I would appeal to them to heed her call and book another donation. You never know whose life you might end up saving," Mr Cornelissen said.
Lifeblood is currently appealing for donors to boost blood stocks, in particular people with O+ and O- blood.
You can book a donation at lifeblood.com.au, call 13 14 95, or download the Donate Blood app.
If you donate during November, you will receive a limited-edition Movember bandage as part of Lifeblood’s True Colours campaign.
South Australia statistics from appeal for Amira
- New donors up 580% in one month
- Appointments up 400% in one month
- One month’s worth of new donors in six days
- 77% of new donors have not returned or do not have a forward booked appointment (70% nationally)