Home' Air Force News : September 1st 2011 Contents 11
September 1, 2011
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LAC Bill Solomou
IT’S going to be ‘bloody’ tough for
Navy, Army or Defence civilians
to beat Air Force in this year’s Aus-
tralian Defence Organisation Blood
Challenge. Air Force has won the
challenge for the last two years.
“Bring it on!” were the fight-
ing words from Air Force blood
challenge ambassador FSGT Tony
The challenge will run from
September 1 to November 30.
In its third year, it has grown sig-
nificantly with an expected increase of
donations of 30 per cent from last year.
Commander Joint Health
Command MAJGEN Paul Alexander
said the blood products produced by
the Red Cross were vital to our units
“We in the Defence force really
profile to the rest of the community
nationally what the importance of
blood donations is to our organisa-
tion,” he said.
To keep up with demand, the
Australian Red Cross Blood Service
(ARCBS) requires almost 27,000
donations every week.
One in three Australians will
need blood or blood products in their
lifetime, and only three per cent of
Australians donate blood.
ARCBS CEO Jennifer Williams
said the ADF involvement played an
important role in promoting blood
donation to the community.
“Defence’s involvement is won-
derful, it has a large impact on pro-
moting the value of blood donation,”
Ms Williams encouraged all
Defence members to join the chal-
lenge, and said “may the best team
This year, each service has an
ambassador. All three members have
received donor blood and in all cases
it was lifesaving.
After a hit and run head-on colli-
sion in 2007, FSGT Benfer was fight-
ing to stay alive. In fact he died during
eight hours of surgery, when the flow
of his own blood ran out. He lost his
leg below the knee, half his little finger
and has an artificial elbow.
“It could happen to you or some-
one in your family, and when I say
family I mean our brothers and sis-
ters in arms,” FSGT Benfer said.
Navy’s ambassador is AB Paul de
Gelder, who in 2009 required more
than 300 units of blood after losing
his leg and arm from a shark attack.
“Without people giving up their
time to donate blood I wouldn’t be
here today; blood was there for me
when I needed it,” AB de Gelder said.
Army’s face of the challenge is
WO2 Dennis Ramsay, who required
a blood transfusion in 2008 when he
was struck down by a life-threatening
illness. Both his legs were amputated
below the knee.
“It was the blood from donors
which brought life back into me,”
WO2 Ramsay said.
To join the challenge, log on to http://www.donateblood.com.au/club-red and nominate
your service. A donor ID is required to join online, which you can get at the time of donat-
ing or by calling the Red Cross Blood Service on 13 14 95. Family and friends are also
welcome to participate.
LET THE DONATIONS BEGIN: Air Force’s
ambassador for the 2011 Australian Defence
Organisation Blood Challenge, FSGT Tony Benfer,
whose life was saved by donor blood during
surgery in 2007.
Photo: Graham McBean
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