Negative is positive result

Rae Riley, 45, donated blood on Friday morning at the Traralgon Donor Centre in response to a national need for her blood type. photograph anne simmons

Rae Riley, 45, donated blood on Friday morning at the Traralgon Donor Centre in response to a national need for her blood type. photograph anne simmons

Traralgon resident Rae Riley made her first blood donation in about seven years on Friday after hearing the Australian Red Cross Blood Service was in desperate need of her blood type, O-negative.

The national stock of O-negative hit critical levels recently, and the service's community relations officer Wendy Todd said the Traralgon Donor Centre had not experienced the same quick response the metro sites had.

"A couple of days ago we were sitting with two days' worth of [O-negative] supply," Ms Todd said.

"We really need the local community to come in and donate blood even if people don't know what their blood type is."

O-negative is a universal blood type carried in emergency wards and on the patient transport helicopters seen flying through the Latrobe Valley skies.

"That's why it's so special – because it can be given to anybody in medical emergencies because of compatibility," Ms Todd said.

She said about 9 per cent of the population carried the O-negative blood type, which made it quite rare.

The Traralgon centre is in particular need of extra donations because of how the cold and flu season can strike large numbers of regular donors off the list while they recover from illness.

"We might have 60 appointments in the system and within an hour we might have phone calls where 20 people have cancelled because they've got a cold or flu," Ms Todd said.

She said in the school holidays people went away and forgot appointments they had made.

Ms Riley, 45, found her return to donating blood a "really relaxing" experience.

"It's not confronting at all. The whole process is really quite simple and straightforward and they make you feel really comfortable," Ms Riley said.

"I'm really lucky because I'm healthy and my son's healthy so I might as well do it while I can."

Every time a person donates blood, their blood type will be checked.

Appointments can be made online via donateblood.com.au or phone 13 14 95.

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