Leap year 'bonus day' spurs call for an extra 5,500 blood donations

Leap year 'bonus day' spurs call for an extra 5,500 blood donations

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is urging an extra 5,500 people to donate blood or plasma before the end of February to help meet Leap Day demand.

While Australians enjoy an extra 24 hours this month, the bonus leap year day, February 29, means an extra day of need for patients in hospitals.

With time frequently listed as one of the greatest barriers to donating blood, Lifeblood hopes people will turn their extra time this month into a lifetime for someone in need by giving a blood or plasma donation.

Lifeblood Executive Director of Donor Experience, Cath Stone said there was no better way to spend this leap day than becoming a blood or plasma donor and saving up to three lives.

“Around 33,000 blood donations are needed every week to help a range of seriously ill Australians,” she said.

“This year, we have an extra day of that need, requiring more than 5,500 extra blood and plasma donations.

“We are urging people to make an appointment to donate blood or plasma so they can use their extra day – either now or later – to save lives.

“Cancer patients, pregnant women, road trauma victims, premature babies, and people with blood disorders need blood every single day, including leap days.”

As part of Lifeblood’s partnership with the Cancer Council for World Cancer Day this month, everyone who donates blood or plasma throughout February will receive a limited-edition Beci Orpin designed daffodil bandage. 

Ms Stone said people living with cancer would be the biggest users of donated blood in Australia this leap day.

“Around 2,000 of the donations made on February 29 will be used for cancer treatments. With 1 in 2 Australians expected to be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85, the chances are you’ll be helping someone you know to tackle cancer.”

To book a donation visit lifeblood.com.au, download the free donate blood app or call 13 14 95.

FAST FACT: 350 active blood donors have a Leap year (February 29) birthday.