Saving lives in threes

A group of Royal Australian Navy officers and sailors have united in South Australia this month, championing members donating blood for the first time.

CAPTION: HMAS Encounter Commanding Officer Commander Emma McDonald-Kerr, centre, with Midshipmen Benjamin Blackwell and Max Marriott at the Red Cross Lifeblood Centre, Adelaide. Story by Leading Seaman Jeremy Rendell. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Sam Price.

Midshipmen Ben Blackwell, Mollie Murton and Max Marriott from HMAS Encounter committed to beginning their blood-giving journey, and colleagues including their commanding officer joined them for a group donation at the Regent Arcade Lifeblood Donation Centre in Adelaide.

Navy led the 2022 Defence Blood Challenge by donations per capita and the three members were keen to keep pushing towards the Defence aim of over 11,000 blood and plasma donations.

Encounter Commanding Officer Commander Emma McDonald-Kerr spoke to the value of Defence members donating blood.

“The Defence Blood Challenge is an excellent opportunity to drive a huge amount of blood donations through competitive mateship between the services,” Commander McDonald-Kerr said.

“Blood products are much needed across Australia, and I am particularly proud of our Midshipmen who are leading by example in service to the community.”

Undergraduate entry officers Midshipmen Murton and Marriott are currently studying Bachelors of Commerce in Management, and Electrical and Electronic Engineering respectively at Adelaide University.

Undergraduate entry officers have their degrees paid for, and receive a salary from Defence during their study.

In return, they accrue a return of service obligation relative to their degree cost and length.

Midshipmen Blackwell, who graduated from New Entry Officers’ Course 66, is due to attend Australian Defence Force Academy in 2023 to study aerospace engineering.

“I feel proud to be able to contribute to the blood challenge and support my team,” Midshipman Blackwell said.

“A blood donation can mean everything to someone, and that far outweighs getting jabbed with a needle.”

Midshipman Marriot said he was ready to make blood donations a regular habit, as well as encouraging others to donate too.

“One in three Australians require a blood transfusion in their lifetime, yet only three per cent of Australians are donating blood,” Midshipman Marriott said.

Midshipman Murton highlighted how donating blood aligns with the Defence values.

“As Defence members, we place the security and interests of our nation and its people ahead of our own, from international deployments to blood donations,” Midshipman Murton said.

“Donating also demonstrates integrity – how can we ask others to donate if we aren’t willing to do so ourselves?”

The 2022 Defence Blood Challenge will run until December 8, but all three officers plan to make donating a regular habit as they move into the next phase of their naval careers and beyond.

To find out about eligibility to donate and to register as a Lifeblood donor, visit:





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