Wauchope's Graham Leahy celebrates International Plasma Awareness Week

THUMBS UP: Wauchope's Graham Leahy donating plasma during his 75th donation at the Port Macquarie Donor Centre.
THUMBS UP: Wauchope's Graham Leahy donating plasma during his 75th donation at the Port Macquarie Donor Centre.

Wauchope's Graham Leahy celebrated International Plasma Awareness Week in style by chalking up his 75th blood donation.

The retiree said he is motivated to continue donating in Port Macquarie after his travel experiences in Australia, Fiji and Africa.

Plasma Awareness Week continues until October 13 and highlights the importance of plasma donations. Donations can be used to treat people with chronic diseases as well as trauma, burns and shock.

"There were several reasons I started donating and I always wanted to do something important," Mr Leahy said.

"In 2007 my wife and I started doing a lot of remote travelling in the deserts and stock routes.

Mr Leahy said while they were in a remote part of Australia in 2010 a friend of his was killed.

"It really got me thinking; what can I do to help people in need? You do see some terrible accidents out there in remote Australia.

"We got back from the desert travels only to find out that our daughter had a Leukemia-based blood disorder. It was two whacks in one year."

After travelling to Fiji and Africa and waiting out a three month exclusion, Mr Leahy began donating in March 2016.

He has continued to make a donation each fortnight.

NOT SCARED OF THE NEEDLE: Wauchope's Graham Leahy giving plasma in his 75th donation.

NOT SCARED OF THE NEEDLE: Wauchope's Graham Leahy giving plasma in his 75th donation.

"A lot of people are scared of the needle - and I was always a bit apprehensive of that too - but I thought you're old enough to build a bridge and get over it," he laughed.

"I look forward to coming here every fortnight and it's only an hour a day, which is nothing.

"Knowing that you could save a child or a grandmother, every little bit helps. I'll keep coming as long as I am healthy enough.

"It doesn't matter if it's 75 or 300 donations."

Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokesman Stuart Ward said Australia is experiencing a significant increase in demand for plasma.

"Over the last decade the demand for some plasma products has increased by around ten per cent every year," Mr Ward said.

"Blood donation is not just about the red stuff. Plasma makes up the majority of our blood, and is full of important proteins and nutrients that protect us against invaders and help our blood to clot.

"Plasma and plasma products can be the last line of defence in the treatment of many serious medical conditions like cancer, bleeding disorders, immune and neurological conditions, and burns."

For more information visit www.donateblood.com.au

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