Perks of being a Lifeblood volunteer

Perks of being a Lifeblood volunteer

Did you know there are more ways to give back to Lifeblood than just giving blood?

Our volunteers are an essential part of making the donation process run smoothly, and their mighty and quiet acts of service help to ensure our donors are well looked after.

We caught up with one of Brisbane Donor Centre’s favourite volunteers, Gary, to chat about being a volunteer and the best part of the gig.

When did you start donating?

I gave my first blood donation in the early 1960s when I was in the Army at the age of 18. My father was a regular blood donor going every 3 months to donate but unfortunately passed away before he reached the magic 100 donations.

I started donating blood every 3 months as well. Back then after your donation you were given a cuppa, a biscuit, and a cigarette if you wanted one. It was always good to reach donation levels of 25, 50, 75, etc. and eventually I stopped after donating 324 times when a nurse noticed that my heart was missing too many beats and I was instructed to cease donating.

When did you start volunteering?

I started volunteering at the Brisbane centre in early 2017 and really enjoyed working with Jane, Jess, and the team on reception and the nurses. I like meeting the donors and have a chat and reassure new donors. I have a favourite donor called Brian who donates Plasma and he is a blind gentleman, we have had many spirited conversations together.

My day is very busy keeping the pie warmer stocked up (meat pies are the favourites) and keep the refrigerator stocked with water, poppers, and cheese. Potato chips and popcorn are the other favourites.

What’s the best part about volunteering with Lifeblood?

It is such an enjoyable workplace and I look forward to going there every Friday and get warmly welcomed by the staff when I arrive.

Unfortunately, since I started volunteering I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, had two heart attacks and now have type 2 diabetes. I have successfully overcome these problems and it never stopped me from turning up nearly every Friday.