If you’ve spent the last 54,365,894 days in lockdown (or whatever the real number is now), there’s a chance you’ve lost track of time. Needless to say, we have. And though it feels like it was only yesterday we last rolled up our sleeves for a good cause, there’s an urgent need to do so once again.

“Over the next few weeks, we need an additional 14,000 donors right across the nation to make a blood or plasma donation at their local centre,” says Jennifer Campbell Case, a spokesperson for Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. “We need all blood types, but in particular we’re always looking for more O-negative blood donors,” she says. The universal blood type is critical in emergencies where patients’ blood type isn’t known.

“In recent months we’ve experienced a record number of people cancelling their donation appointments, which means we need more donors to book a donation to account for last-minute cancellations,” she explains.

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“The need for blood never stops – not even for a pandemic – and there are patients in hospitals that still need blood every day.”

Many Australians are under stay-at-home restrictions – however leaving the house to donate blood and/or plasma is considered essential. If you’re worried about visiting a Lifeblood centre during a pandemic, Campbell Case assures us donors must be healthy and well in order to donate, and all centres undergo thorough cleaning.

“In addition to our already strong eligibility and hygiene protocols, we’ve implemented a wide range of additional measures, including temperature checks; additional hand sanitiser; restriction of non-donating visitors; social distancing; postponements for people who have tested positive or been in contact with a confirmed case; plus QR codes to facilitate contact tracing; and face masks for staff and donors in line with the relevant state government requirements.”

Also, anyone who can roll up their sleeves and donate will be rewarded. “We’ve recently changed our post-donation menu to offer a broader range of snacks for our donors and increase the number of Australian-made foods,” says Campbell Case. “Donors can still enjoy their favourite meat pie, sausage roll and milkshake alongside a range of new salty vegetarian and gluten-free options.”

Plus, from early October, donors will be able to show off their post-donation arm with a snazzy new accessory. “We’ve got a new campaign coming up that will allow donors to show the world their life-giving style with the ultimate life-saving accessory. Keep your eyes on our website for more details.”

If you’re feeling well and not awaiting test results or isolating, you can book appointments online.