Rare blood appeal for A and O blood donors intensifies

Rare blood appeal for A and O blood donors intensifies

A nationwide search for the rare blood urgently needed by an Australian mum awaiting heart surgery is making progress but is far from over.

Lifeblood is opening appointments across the country and is asking anyone with O and A blood groups to come forward and donate in the hope of being a match for Amira Soliman, who has a very rare combination of blood types.

Since the launch of the appeal, a fourth donor has been identified in Victoria by Australian Red Cross Lifeblood and another two units of blood are on the way from the United Kingdom.

Director of Donor Relations Steven Eldridge said the response to the appeal so far had been incredible but compared the search for suitable donors to finding a needle in a haystack.

“A rare combination of antigens in her blood means that just one in 10,000 donations may be a match, but our teams are working around the clock to test donations and have so far identified four suitable donors. We’ve still got more than halfway to go to ensuring there is enough blood for Amira’s surgery to proceed.

“We’re pleased to confirm that two bags of blood are currently en route to Australia from the United Kingdom, and we’re working with other blood services overseas to search for potential donors.”

The appeal for Amira had an instant impact across Australia, with people responding in their droves by booking donations and turning up at Lifeblood donor centres. Between Thursday and Sunday appointments were up 14 per cent nationally and up 102 per cent in Amira’s home state of South Australia.

There was also an 80 per cent increase in people donating for the first time during that period.

Mr Eldridge said Lifeblood was incredibly grateful for the community’s response.

“Our team has been working tirelessly to collect, process and test donations,” he said.

“We can’t thank the people who have donated enough and hope the goodwill continues as we search for more matches.

“All blood donations are appreciated because they go to patients in need. Lifeblood needs 33,000 donations each week to meet patient demand across Australia.”

A Lifeblood team, set up to support Amira, now has more than 3,000 members, with more than 2000 of those people donating already, including 549 new donors. Anyone can join the team by registering to donate and joining Donate for Amira on our website www.lifeblood.com.au, on the Donate Blood app or in centre.

To be a match for Amira, a donor must meet the following criteria:

1.    Must be blood type “O” or “A” (If a donor does not know their blood type, they should still donate to see if they are a possible match)

To join the search book a donation via lifeblood.com.au, call 13 14 95, or download the Donate Blood app.