Donating blood is second nature for local man Jeff Chandler, who came along to Nelson’s mobile blood drive on Friday morning for his 75th donation.
The mobile blood drive, run by the New Zealand Blood Service, aims to visit Nelson twice a year from Christchurch, and stays for three days to collect blood from bases in Richmond and Nelson. Since the Nelson Blood Centre closed in 2013, this has been the only way that Nelson and Tasman residents can give blood.
Jeff says he didn’t realise it was his 75th donation when he turned up at the Trafalgar Pavilion. “It just crept up on me,” he says.
He first donated blood 30 years ago in Christchurch. “I had a serious accident when I was 14 that required a blood transfusion,” he says. “When I got well I went along to a blood donation through work and have been doing it ever since.”
He has no plans to stop at 75 donations either, and one day hopes to get to 100. “I’ve stayed fit and healthy all my life, so I’ll keep doing it as long as I can.”
Jane Condell, donor recruiter from the New Zealand Blood Service, says it has been an “incredibly busy” week. “We’re always full when we come to Nelson,” she says. “We’ve also seen a lot of younger donors come in with their parents, which is great.”
In fact, they have been so busy that they are coming back in November for another blood drive. Because the stand down period between donations is 84 days, they will need a new lot of donors, so Jane is urging Nelson and Tasman residents to sign up to donate.
The mobile blood service will be collecting blood at Club Waimea on November 3rd, and at the Trafalgar Park Pavilion on November 4 and 5.
For more information, visit www.nzblood.co.nz