Roll up your sleeves

World Blood Donor Day is June 14, and Dr Marilyn Lobo is championing for more ADAWA members to roll up their sleeves.

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Did you know one blood donation can save up to three lives? ADAWA members care for their patients every day, but as Dr Marilyn Lobo has discovered, it is easy to make a difference by donating blood or plasma.

‘I first enquired about blood donation over two decades ago, but didn’t meet the requirements at the time,” Marilyn recalls. “Friends have recently spoken about their experience in donating, so I thought I’d try again.”

“As a mother and paediatric dentist, I appreciate the saying: ‘Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not’,” she says. “Giving blood has echoed this for me. Giving thanks for my health and giving to those who need our help to be healthy.”

Marilyn’s first donation was in January. “I drive past the Edgewater Lifeblood Centre frequently,” she says. “One day, I stopped in, thinking I was going in to get something information or a brochure. What actually proceeded was completely unexpected! After 30 minutes of questions, a finger prick, pulse reading and blood pressure test, I was offered a seat and the opportunity to give plasma!  

“I wasn’t a candidate for whole blood at the time because of recent travel, but was advised plasma is very much needed. There are a few reasons to give plasma instead of whole blood and everything is very clearly explained and calculated.

“The whole process was just over 90 minutes,” she adds. “Giving whole blood is even faster.”

Marilyn has since donated again in February and March and at the time of interview had also scheduled her April donation.

She says the process was easy and gratifying. “I thought I was going in to give blood – I could never have imagined what it felt like to give life,” she says. “Looking around the room, men and women of all ages were giving life. It was inspirational. I received so much more than I gave. I’ve made a personal commitment to donate 12 times this year. Some people have donated over 100 times! I’m a way off but that’s the ultimate goal.”

Marilyn urges her peers and colleagues to also donate if they can. “I want everyone to experience the feeling of donating life, not just ADAWA members,” she says. “When Lifeblood asked me to champion this cause for ADAWA, I was happy to help promote this amongst our group. By asking the question, I’ve had seven staff members commit to a group booking. That’s up to 24 lives we could save by each giving up two hours of time.”

She adds people wanting to donate can connect their donation to the ADAWA team (let the Lifeblood staff know when you donate). “There’s a running list of monthly top donors,” she says. “We’re not as big in number as some of the companies listed, but I know we’ve got big hearts and are willing to roll up our sleeves for others.”

There are seven conveniently located Lifeblood Centres around Perth. There are also locations in Albany and Bunbury.

“If you have two hours and want to give the best gift ever, stop in,” Marilyn suggests. “Subsequent visits take less time as you’ll be set up in the registry and have everything ready.  

“Dentists help people,” she adds. “It’s in our nature before dentistry. So many people, some of whom are colleagues, staff, patients, family, or friends, need blood products. When we feel helpless, this is something we can do. Australia needs over 1.7 million donations every year to meet demand: that’s three every minute. Every drop counts. ADAWA can make a difference!”

For details about donating blood or plasma, visit

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