Life-savers walking among us

If someone saved your life, it’s something you would never forget. Imagine your life is on the line and you just needed one person, just one, to give up an hour of their time in exchange for weeks, months or even years of life for you or a loved one.

If you were ever to meet this person, imagine what you would say? That person could be anyone. That person could be someone from Westpac bank.

Westpac is a New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS Team Red. Westpac employees have pledged to make 1500 donations over three years, potentially saving up to 4500 Kiwi lives.

Jasmine Wong, Community Executive, says “We feel it’s really important to give back to our community. We have a strong culture of looking after society and the environment along with our business.

“We have a strong, passionate group of regular donors, but we also get new people every time too. In total, about 400 people throughout the country have donated blood since we became a NZBS Team Red in 2012. Being able to help three people with each donation resonates, so we have red magnets that say ‘You saved three lives’ for staff to display on their magnetic board by their desks. People feel really good about it.”

For Mia Griffiths, a Westpac staff member in Christchurch, donating blood is particularly personal. When her now 22 year old daughter was two years old, she received platelet infusions when she was diagnosed with idiopathic thromcocytopenic purpura (a condition in which the immune system destroys the body’s platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting. It can lead to excessive bruising and serious bleeding). Fortunately, since her daughter’s platelet infusions, the condition settled and hasn’t recurred. Mia is now a regular blood and plasma donor to pay it forward.

Westpac makes it as easy as possible for its staff to get involved. Staff are encouraged to make the most of the company’s policy allowing paid leave for community service.

Jasmine says a visit she took to the Epsom Blood Centre opened her eyes. “Seeing the blood from donations right the way through to being ready for someone who needs it was fascinating. The part we can play is so easy – so why wouldn’t you?”

NZBS makes donating easy for companies wanting to get involved with Team Red too. It runs on-site collections at workplaces and a donor shuttle service depending on the location and how many people are donating.

Team Red is a nationwide donor programme designed for business and community organisations. NZBS need 3,000 blood donations each and every week just to meet hospital needs, so regular donations from groups like Westpac can make a huge difference to the lives of New Zealanders who need blood.

To find out more about the Team Red programme, click here or call 0800 GIVE BLOOD.


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