The recent Australian Red Cross Awards highlighted the significant contribution in blood donations Department of Human Services staff have made to the important organisation, particularly in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
During the event at Old Parliament House, local staff were recognised for the highest number of donations for any organisation in the ACT through the organisation’s ‘Red25’ competition.
Elizabeth Bondarenko of the department’s Red Cross Blood Coordination team was also named the ‘ACT Coordinator of the Year’ for the second year in a row.
Australian Red Cross Community Relations Officer Sally Gavin said ‘Red25’ awards are a chance to recognise both organisations and individuals who make a difference.
“Red25 is a nation-wide event where we have large organisations come together to commit to donating 25 per cent of our yearly intake of blood,” Ms Gavin said.
“There are awards recognising the number of donations, paying tribute to community spirit and even a competition between our Emergency Services.
“For the Department to contribute at the level they have, and win the awards that they have, plus have Elizabeth commit to the cause again, it’s wonderful. We call her ‘Queen Elizabeth’ here actually.”
ACT Departmental employees gave almost 740 donations last year and, in doing so, they saved more than 2200 lives, while staff across the country gave almost 2520 blood donations, which equated to a massive 7550 lives saved. The overall effort meant the Department finished third in the National category for the ‘Red 25’ competition.
Donations were about 400 up on 2014 and the number of lives saved increased by more than 1200 people. Standouts were NSW staff, who contributed 667 donations and in Victoria staff gave 352 donations and saved more than 1000 lives.
Ms Bondarenko’s role is a critical one, she helps to organise courtesy buses to and from donation points, meaning one of the hurdles often preventing people from donating is taken away.
“I felt really proud to receive the recognition from the Red Cross and am passionate about the cause because blood donations are essential to saving lives,” Ms Bondarenko said.
“A massive thanks goes out to my coordination team in Canberra, it’s a lot of work and it wouldn’t happen without their support.
“The Red Cross is a truly wonderful organisation and it needs all the help it can get. I strongly encourage anyone who doesn’t donate, to do so if they can.”
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