If it’s been a while since you last donated blood, World Blood Donor Day on Friday June 14 is the perfect opportunity to take a stab at it again. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is asking Australians to take part in Bloody Great Friday, the country’s first ever 24-hour donate-a-thon. In the Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne CBDs, donation centres will be set up from 7pm on June 13 until 7pm on June 14.
To sweeten the deal, the Red Cross has enlisted some top-notch chef talent to whip up post-donation snacks that are sure to beat the usual tea-and-bickie combo. In Melbourne, MoVida’s Frank Camorra will prep a lamb “donor” (get it?) kebab, empanadas and a Catalan-style custard tart. In Brisbane, Richard Ousby (former executive chef of Stokehouse) has created a menu that includes his own “donor” kebab with pulled pork, salt-and-vinegar vegetable chips and whipped-cheese dip. He’ll also be serving an Eton mess to keep blood-sugar levels high. And in Sydney, Nel’s Nelly Robinson will serve salmon pies, gourmet sausage rolls and a fancy spiced carrot cake with mandarin sorbet, yoghurt foam and mint powder.
Gelato Messina has also jumped in on the action – it'll be dishing out free samples of a custom flavour called Abso-Bloody-Lutely, made from blood-orange cheesecake gelato with red velvet cake and raspberry puree.
At each blood drive, a slew of entertainers will be on hand to distract from the extractions. Expect live music from Ella Haber and Cyrus in Sydney, singer-songwriter Lakyn in Melbourne and Georgia James in Brisbane. All three cities will have magicians on hand (“look, no blood!”) and professional caricature artists.
The Bloody Great Friday campaign aims to encourage more Australians to register as donors – in fact, 99,000 new donors will be needed over the next 12 months. According to the Australian Red Cross, one in three Australians will need to receive blood or blood products in their lifetime, but only one in 30 currently donate each year.