People who can, should (Navy)
4 September 2013
Navy’s 2013 Blood Challenge ambassador is not shy about telling people to roll-up their sleeves, LSIS Helen Frank reports.
She doesn’t have pointy teeth and isn’t afraid of the sun but Petty Officer Boatswain Cartrena Skinner has been affectionately referred to as the local vampire.
Petty Officer Skinner, of NUSHIP Canberra, is well known for encouraging others to donate blood and this year she has been chosen to be Navy’s Blood Challenge ambassador.
“I have just posted from HMAS Penguin, where I was known as the vampire or blood sucker,” she said.
“No matter what the function, presentation or speech being conducted, I could find a way to ask everyone for blood.
“When I first met my new XO [Executive Officer] at a dinner I managed to mention he should donate and I once accosted a vice admiral at a presentation he was conducting.”
Petty Officer Skinner was honoured to be considered as Navy’s ambassador, let alone selected.
“There are so many worthy members in Defence and unfortunately so many more that have required a blood or plasma transfusion,” she said.
Petty Officer Skinner was a regular donor until a medical emergency in October last year led to her losing a lot of blood.
“I was lucky enough to not require a blood transfusion,” she said. “I was advised to rest for a period but I’m now about to launch back into donating.
“As the ambassador I want to lead by example and create greater awareness. I truly believe you can never have enough awareness for blood donations.
“I have been extremely lucky to have such supportive commands that have facilitated my previous efforts and also taken the time to donate and set an example.”
Petty Officer Skinner first donated blood in 2004 and has made 30 donations so far.
“It is very important for any member who is able and willing to donate, to do so,” she said.
“If you are willing and able, how could you not take the chance to potentially help a fellow sailor or even a family member?
“You never know when you may be the one that needs assistance.”
The Defence Blood Challenge runs from 1 September to 30 November. To register your donation for Navy visit www.donateblood.com.au/defence