Milestone Donations for ESA staff

Working in emergency services our staff and volunteers see firsthand the important role blood and plasma can play in peoples lives. In many cases it can be the difference between life and death.

That is why each year the ACT Emergency Services Agency participates in the Emergency Services Blood Challenge, to help increase donation numbers among emergency personnel and encourage others to donate. 

As part of Emergency Services Blood Challenge, we sat down with two staff members who have reached amazing milestones in their donation journeys during this challenge. 

100th Donation: Andrew Gradie – Assistant Director, Volunteer Membership, ACT Rural Fire Service and ACT State Emergency Service

When did you start donating? 
I made my first donation when I turned 18 in 1989. 

Why did you start donating? 
My Dad had always been a regular donor, so he initially dragged me along luring me with the stereotypical milkshakes and sausage rolls that they give you after you donate. 

Why do you continue to donate? 
I continue to donate because it’s a good thing to do. At the end of the day people need blood and I’m a common blood type which is always in demand. I also don’t really need it. I mean, when they take it out, it's all back in my system not long after, so why not give it to someone else? 
My wife also fought cancer when she was younger and knowing the benefits that she received from receiving many blood transfusions, really gives me that push to continue donating. 

Does donating blood/plasma hurt? 
No, not really. You do feel a little prick as they are inserting the needle, but the team at Lifeblood are really good at what they do, so it very rarely hurts. 

What is your message for other in the community who may be reluctant/scared to donate? 
Give it a go. The thought of a needle going in is generally a lot worse than what the needle is actually doing. After you donate you can tell someone that you have ‘just saved a life’. It’s a great feeling. 
It’s also a very easy way to give back to the community. It costs no money and only takes a small amount of time. 


250th Donation: Anthony Draheim – Chief Officer, ACT State Emergency Service

When did you start donating? 
I started donating in 1986. 

Why did you start donating? 
I started donating as part of a group of mates when I was in school in Sydney. Even back then we were looking at how we could give something back to community that we lived in, not knowing the blood we provided was being sent across the entire country.   

Why do you continue to donate? 
Over the years I’ve donated on and off. There have been moments when I have donated quite regularly and others where work and life got in the way. I now plan my donations, about once a month, to make sure I find time to commit to this wonderful service.   
For me personally, a big reason why I continue to donate and have increased my donations over time is to help others who need it. Losing my father to leukemia 12 years ago was a big catalyst for me to donate more regularly, particularly seeing firsthand where blood, plasma and platelets donations are needed.  

Does donating blood/plasma hurt? 
I’ve never found it hurts and after you’ve done it a couple of times you don’t really worry about it. Of course, there are times where it might hurt a little bit more than others but at the end of the day it’s a little price to pay to save a life.

What is your message for others in the community who may be reluctant/scared to donate? 
Just give it a try, give it a go. Even one donation can make a huge difference.

According to the Australian Red Cross’ Lifeblood you save three lives for every donation you make. That means that Andrew and Anthony have saved a combined 1050 lives! If you too want to save lives visit the Lifeblood website to find information on how and where you can donate.