Never been before here's a little bit about me to get you started
I LOVE living in Australia.
I believe in the "If You Don't Love It - Leave" philosophy.
And I truly think that my mum's decision to marry my Australian Citizen Step-Dad and move us to this wonderful country was by far the best decision she ever made for us.
BUT - somethings really FRUSTRATE me about Australia. And this is one of them....
I am unable, even thought I am willing, to donate blood.
Phew! Some of you might be saying (especially those who have fainted already at even the thought of a needle!) but it is something that I would love to do. I think it is a very important thing to do that doesn't cost anything but could save someones life.
And this is the reason why the Australian Red Cross Blood Service will not accept my blood....because I resided in the UK between 1980 & 1996 for more than 6 months and I might be a mad cow. Well all those that know me, know I am a little bit bonkers but calling me a cow...humph! The correct name for the disease known as "mad cow disease" is Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Below is the direct passage from the Australian Red Cross FAQ's page (obviously people frequently ask!)
"Although the number of cases of vCJD (the human form of 'mad cow disease' or bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in the United Kingdom is declining, in the absence of a screening test, the full extent of exposure is not known.
Since 2004, there have been a small number of reported cases of patients in the United Kingdom (UK) diagnosed with vCJD who have been infected through blood transfusion.
Based on this information, and in the absence of a reliable screening test for vCJD in blood, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service has implemented guidelines to reduce the risk of vCJD transmission through blood transfusion in Australia. Currently we exclude people from donating who:
Have resided in the UK between 1980 and 1996 for a total (cumulative) time of 6 months or more, (that's me!)
Have received blood transfusions in the UK since 1 January 1980.
Unfortunately, because of the extensive time period covered by the deferral and the possibility of unknowing exposure to beef or beef products, it is not possible to exempt vegetarians who have resided in the UK for a cumulative period of six months or more during the risk years.
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is monitoring progress in the development of a reliable blood screening test for vCJD. Should this deferral policy be changed for any reason, please be assured that this information will be disseminated widely." click HERE for the source.
As per the Australian Bureau of Statistics 23.8% of the Australian population as per June 2005 were born in the UK. That is a HUGE amount of people who could possibly be excluded from donating blood. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand the reasoning behind the decision, but it is such a shame that there is the huge divide between those Australian's in need of blood and those wanting to give it.
According to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Website "...only a very small proportion of people (one in 30) actually give blood. Yet sooner or later, one in three of us will need it."
I guess one of the reasons I am fully supportive of giving blood is that Grotbag had to have 2 blood transfusions while in the Intensive Care Unit when he was 4 months old after an operation to correct the bone structure of his skull. (I will blog about this another day soon...when I am ready!). I am totally thankful to those that unselfishly gave their blood so that my gorgeous little boy could have it.
So regardless of where you live, and if you qualify, think about giving blood. Every whole blood donation can actually save 3 lives. You may not know the person who will receive it but you can bet that they will be truly thankful. Like we were.