A public affair to save lives

When Flight Lieutenants Steffi Blavius and Kate Davis heard the call-out to donate blood as part of this year’s Defence Blood Challenge, they saw the perfect opportunity to further their work together by spreading the word and saving lives.

CAPTION: 464 Squadron public affairs officers, Flight Lieutenants Kate Davis, left, and Steffi Blavius donate blood at a Red Cross Lifeblood Donation Centre in Melbourne as part of the Defence Blood Challenge. Photo supplied.

In late October, Flight Lieutenants Blavius and Davis visited a Lifeblood Donor Centre in Melbourne.

The pair from 464 Squadron have been job-sharing the Air Force Training Group public affairs officer role since January, but geographical distance, competing schedules and personal commitments had gotten in the way of them meeting.

When they attended the donor centre to help Air Force reach their target of 2802 for the 2022 Defence Blood Challenge, that became the first time they had met face-to-face.

“We finally made it happen and it was really special for our first meeting to be a blood donation for Team Air Force together,” Flight Lieutenant Davis said.

Having lived in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996, Flight Lieutenant Davis, like many, had been prevented from giving blood in Australia due to the risk of Mad Cow Disease.

When the ban lifted in July, Flight Lieutenant Davis became eligible to donate.

“To have helped promote the Defence Blood Challenge and the wonderful contribution of our Defence personnel who have rolled their sleeves over the years, but not being able to myself, really didn’t sit comfortably with me,” Flight Lieutenant Davis said. “I wanted to help too.”

“I recently found out about the Red Cross Lifeblood’s “UK is OK!” campaign through an Army friend who had also been ineligible and was raising awareness of the rule change to encourage others to come forward and donate too.

“I feel it’s now my turn to carry that baton and not only donate my blood to help save lives, but spread the word – and in our profession, Steffi and I have the perfect means to do it.”

Inspired by her mum who is an avid plasma donor, Flight Lieutenant Blavius had donated blood previously but taken a break since having her daughter.

“Hearing the good news from Kate that she is now eligible to donate was the prompt I needed to start donating again,” Flight Lieutenant Blavius said.





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