Taking on the blood challenge to save lives

Donating blood, plasma or platelets could make a significant impact to another person’s quality of life who is in need.

CAPTION: Group Captain Mike Burgess-Orton believes the Defence Blood Challenge will benefit many people like his wife Abigail who receive regular blood products to combat life threatening illness. Story by John Noble. Photo by Flight Sergeant Kev Berriman.

Helping drive this push is newly appointed Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Blood Challenge Ambassador, Group Captain Mike Burgess-Orton.

Group Captain Burgess-Orton believes now is a particularly important time for Air Force members to step up and donate blood where they can.

“There is currently a compelling need for increased blood and plasma donations to continue to provide medical relief to thousands of Australians, particularly with the impact of recent floods, road closures, cold and flu seasons, as well as impacts from COVID-19 on donors and recipients alike,” Group Captain Burgess-Orton said.

“This places a significant strain on the availability of blood and plasma supplies, which is why we need to encourage more participation from fit and well members of the Air Force.”

One of Group Captain Burgess-Orton’s main motivations to become RAAF’s Blood Ambassador came from his wife Abigail, who battles with Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP).

Abigail receives a monthly infusion of Intravenous Immunoglobulin to counter the symptoms of CIDP, inspiring Mike to give back to the community by donating blood and plasma.

“Literally anyone at any time – your family or friends and work colleagues – could find themselves in an Accident & Emergency department urgently needing a blood transfusion to save their life,” Group Captain Burgess-Orton said.

“Equally a plasma donation is turned into 18 different quality of life-giving medicines to counter a range of diseases and chronic conditions for recipients, some of which are for the rest of their lives.

“This is an opportunity to join everyday Australians to make a significant contribution to our community and show the support of the Air Force for this worthwhile cause.”

The 2022 Defence Blood Challenge is aiming to break the 11000 mark this year across Defence, with Air Force aiming to surpass the 2800 donations it achieved from members last year.

The Blood Challenge runs from September 1 through to December 8, and anyone wishing to register can do so through Australian Red Cross Lifeblood at: www.lifeblood.com.au





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