Life begins at Halcyon

Don's rolling up his sleeves and saving lives

24 June 2019 | by Halcyon Glades

With flu season underway, the Australian Red Cross is appealing for more people to donate blood as many of their regular donors are sidelined by the dreaded lurgy. One Halcyon home owner is certainly doing his bit to help.

Halcyon Glades newcomer Don Young is a life saver, but not the kind you see at the beach.
The 67-year-old saves lives simply by rolling up his sleeve twice a month, sitting back and giving blood at the Australian Red Cross.

“For me, it’s just something that I do for somebody else,” he said.

Don recently donated for the 350th time saying the experience is simple and even pleasant because you get to enjoy delicious snacks afterwards.

His contributions equate to around 300 litres of blood and plasma – and many lives either saved or greatly improved.

Don first gave blood in the early 1970s when he was working for the electricity board in Brisbane city.
“The boss said we could have time off to go to the blood bank so, along with a few others, we thought that it was a good way of getting out of some work,” he laughed.

“They’d send a bus and pick up 12 or 15 people and take us to the donor centre and you’d do your thing and they’d return you back to work a couple of hours later.”

Back then you could only donate every three months, so Don kept it up, even after leaving that job and moving from Brisbane to Melbourne for 15 years.

“I guess I continued to do it because most of the family have always been community-minded, so it’s been my thing over the years,” he said.

It also hit close to home at one stage.

“We had a relative who needed blood, so I guess I’m doing my bit to make sure that blood supplies are up so people like our relative can continue to be treated,” he said.

These days, Don donates twice a month and enjoys catching up with the nurses, having a chat with other donors and tucking into sausage rolls and Tim Tams afterwards.

“Last time, everyone was in their State of Origin jerseys, so there was a bit of friendly rivalry,” he said.

“The nurse putting the needle in was a Blues supporter and I was a bit concerned about how uncomfortable that might be.”

Don intends to keep donating for as long as he’s able.

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