Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Dr Mike Kelly AM MP, today officially launched Australia’s largest blood donation event at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Donation Centre in Canberra.
Dr Kelly was joined by Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, senior Defence leaders and Australian Red Cross Blood Service CEO, Jennifer Williams for the launch of the 2012 Defence Organisation Blood Challenge.
Dr Kelly said the annual blood drive, which brought together the Defence Community and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, would help thousands of people in need of blood products.
“This is one of Defence’s largest community support events. It challenges Navy, Army, Air Force and our Defence civilians to compete between 1 September and 30 November to see who can make the greatest number of blood donations.
“In the past three years the Defence Blood Challenge has grown in momentum and produced more than 5000 donations and potentially saved more than 6000 lives,” Dr Kelly said.
“The challenge is now in its fourth year and this year Defence aims to increase the level of overall donations by up to 50 per cent.
“The goal is to achieve over 3000 donations by attracting new donors during the three month challenge,” he said.
Air Marshal Binksin said the Australian Defence Force had been a great supporter of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service for many years.
“We already make a significant contribution and it is pleasing to see our people extend the spirit of our service to support the Australian Red Cross Blood Service,” he said.
“This is the fourth Defence Blood Challenge and I encourage all Defence members, employees and families to donate during the challenge.
Australian Red Cross blood products save lives in the Australian community including our service personnel. They are also used on operations in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
Images are available at http://images.defence.gov.au/12130498
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999
Robbie Rynehart (Dr Kelly): 02 6277 4840