Members of the Rolleston Volunteer Fire Brigade have put out the challenge to donate blood and plasma to the NZ Blood Service

Challenging other brigades

by Ann van Engelen

Members of the Rolleston Volunteer Fire Brigade and their partners donated much-needed blood and plasma to the NZ Blood Service and have put the challenge out to other brigades to do the same.

“We get so much support from the community that we thought this could be our way of giving back,” says chief fire officer Cam Kenyon.

“Some have also chosen to donate plasma regularly and go on the NZ Bone Marrow Donor registry. It is part of the world registry and gives somebody a chance to live or fight a disease. One of our station officers, Phil Glen, participates in the annual Sky Tower Stair Challenge to support a young girl Charlotte who was diagnosed with leukaemia at three years old.

“Charlotte recently took a bad turn, and that got us talking about going on the bone marrow register. They test your bone marrow compatibility through a blood test, and it can be sent anywhere in the world if you match someone in need. We can give plasma on a more regular basis, and it is also good for burn victims as well as other medical conditions.

“The staff are absolutely fantastic at looking after you when you are donating blood. I did it years ago but was nervous as I don’t like needles.

However, we see a lot of need through the fire and emergency service and then recently a family member had a medical emergency, and I realised how important it is to donate. I am happy to do it all the time now.

“We have put a challenge on our Facebook page to all the other brigades to donate blood, plasma, or go on the bone marrow transplant register.

“Let’s join forces and ensure we have enough blood and plasma for others, both here and around the world. Don’t be shy about it — just do it.”