Call for blood donations to assist vital chemotherapy treatment

Registered Nurse Vanessa Maccioni

Registered Nurse Vanessa Maccioni

Half of all regular blood donors have been unable to donate during COVID-19 peaks in Australia recently, leaving many essential services vulnerable to short supply.

With blood donations used in a variety of areas every day, cancer patients are just one group who need these most to safely receive chemotherapy treatment.

Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Registered Nurse Vanessa Maccioni said her patients in the haematology bone marrow transplant ward could not live without blood transfusions.

“They cannot receive chemotherapy if we don’t have the blood products to support them through the recovery of the treatment,” she said.

“Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells, but because the drugs can’t determine good cells from bad, lots of red blood cells get caught in the crossfire.

“These cells are produced in the bone marrow that also gets affected by drugs used in chemotherapy – so not only does the patient lose a number of important cells, but their body’s ability to replace them is also compromised.”

Current guidelines say that you may donate blood seven days after you’ve made a full recovery from COVID-19, with day one starting the first day you have no symptoms.

Vanessa and her colleagues are just some of the many Metro North Health staff who regularly donate to Lifeblood.

“Patients can be coming into hospital for transfusions for years and years,” she said.

“The team I’m in is dedicated to donating so that our patients know we’re doing everything we can to help them.”

Find out how you can make a difference by donating to Lifeblood today.