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Minister joins blood challenge

Published 31/05/2013

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells rolled up his sleeves today along with many Victorian emergency services staff and volunteers to give blood and help the community.

“Our police and emergency services staff and volunteers who catch criminals, fight fires and rescue people from all manner of emergencies already make an immense contribution to the wellbeing of communities across our state,” Mr Wells said.Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells (right), SES volunteer Jon Saunders and Secretary for Police and Emergency Services David Southwick.

“Now for the second year running they will step up again for the national Emergency Services Blood Challenge, in which Victoria Police, SES, CFA, MFB and Ambulance Victoria compete to see which service can make the most donations throughout June and July.

“As their Minister and someone who greatly respects their work, I’ve joined the Challenge with Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services David Southwick.

“The Red Cross needs more than 27,000 blood donations each week to ensure their supplies can meet their demand, so David and I are happy to roll our sleeves up and help out as part of Victoria’s emergency services response.

“Donating blood can help so many vulnerable Victorians including cancer patients, people with blood disorders, surgical patients, pregnant women, premature babies and road trauma victims,” Mr Wells said.

More than 4,700 lives across Australia were saved thanks to last year’s inaugural challenge. Victoria contributed 260 donations, with the CFA delivering the largest share at 98 donations.

This year, services in Victoria will be competing for two prizes, awarded for the highest number of donations and the highest percentage of donations (based on supplied employee or membership numbers).

“Best of luck to all the agencies, and of course the real winners are the many Victorians who will benefit from these donations,” Mr Wells said.

“The Victorian community is very grateful for all that our emergency services staff and volunteers do, and for the extra step they are taking today to help those who need blood.”

Victoria SES volunteer Jon Saunders gave blood alongside the minister yesterday.

"I would encourage all volunteers to get involved with the Challenge and follow the minister's wonderful example," he said.

Mr Southwick said that giving blood was important on many levels.

“Giving up a bit of time in your day to give blood can save the lives of three people,” Mr Southwick said.

“It is also important to recognise the community spirit of emergency services staff, who already work hard to protect our state and are today going one step further and giving enough blood to save thousands of lives.”

Mr Southwick called on all Victorians to give blood ahead of the Queen’s Birthday Weekend for which 1,500 donations were needed to meet demand.

For more information about giving blood phone 13 14 95 or visit www.donateblood.com.au