07 December 2020

Media Release: New Zealand Blood Service reminds donors to book summer appointments

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For many Kiwis, summer is their favourite time of year, a chance to take a break, recharge and get ready for the year ahead. For New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS), the summer holidays are one of the most challenging times to keep donors giving blood and plasma regularly and meet demand for blood and blood products.  

• Over 30,000 appointments are still available for December 2020 and January 2021* 
• Every 18 minutes someone in New Zealand needs blood or blood products, this does not stop when the country takes a holiday.  
• NZBS is confident the generous spirit of its donors will help ensure targets over the period will be met.  

Asuka Burge, NZBS National Manager Marketing and Communications says with the summer break coming up, the service wants to remind all eligible New Zealanders to set aside just one hour of their holiday to help save lives.  

“While summer is a relaxing time for everyone, it does put some strain on our ability to meet demand,” she says. “We understand the reasons why, people are taking time to visit whānau, family and friends.  They leave cities to enjoy our wonderful countryside and beaches, and school holidays disrupt routines.  This is why we are reminding our incredible donors to take just one hour out of their summer and book an appointment to donate.  They could even find a mobile drive near where they are holidaying and help us to continue to meet demand. 

“This summer will look a little different for many Kiwis with our borders closed.  We believe it’s the perfect opportunity while our donors are enjoying a staycation, to do something else a little different during their holiday and book an appointment to donate blood.  It’s an amazing way to end 2020 or start 2021, knowing that just an hour out of your day has potentially helped save someone’s life.  

“We have every faith in our amazing donor community, who always show up to donate when we need them and are encouraging all eligible New Zealanders who haven’t donated before to give it a go this summer.” 

36-year-old Auckland-based father of three Graham Tuisaula is just one Kiwi who needs regular plasma donations to help him enjoy a normal life with his family. He relies on self-administered plasma product every week to help him flight his illness and will do so for the rest of his life.  

Graham, who has a common variable immune deficiency (CVID), a disorder that impairs the immune system, is one of the faces of NZBS’s #onehoursaveslives summer campaign, encouraging all eligible donors to donate blood or plasma during the break.  

“Just like so many other parents in New Zealand, summer for me is basically about my kids,” says Graham. “I get to take them to the park, see their faces light up with smiles. That’s all that matters to me.  

“My treatment comes from plasma donors all around New Zealand, every one of them helping me secure my future. I get to wake up every day and be a father and a husband. Without it there wouldn’t be a Graham Tuisaula. 

It’s thanks to the generosity of 934 and counting generous plasma donors that Graham is able to live a normal life. He is one of hundreds of New Zealanders who receive product made from blood’s liquid gold, plasma, and that number is increasing.  

With its nine-fixed site donor centers open and a number of mobile blood drives scheduled at summer hotspots around the country in December and January, donors are encouraged to visit the NZBS mobile app or website to find the closest place to book an appointment to donate or call 0800 GIVE BLOOD  

*Correct at the time of writing, 7th December 2020 
 About New Zealand Blood Service: 
New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) in a not-for-profit Crown entity and the sole organisation responsible for the collection, processing, testing and storage and distribution of all blood and blood products in New Zealand.  
NZBS relies on voluntary and non-remunerated blood donations from individuals around the country in order to provide a constant supply of precious blood and blood products used by health services to save thousands of lives. 
• Every 18 minutes in New Zealand, someone needs blood or blood products. 
• There is no alternative for patients in need of blood or blood products – blood donors save lives. 
• Every whole blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives. 
• The demand for plasma-derived products is increasing by over 12% year on year.