Wing Commander Nicholas Pausina has returned to conquer both injury and a fear of needles as he rolled up his sleeve at RAAF Base Wagga, in New South Wales, for the Defence Blood Challenge.   

Wing Commander Pausina, the Commanding Officer of No. 31 Squadron, was ecstatic to be finally able to donate blood again with the arrival of the Red Cross Mobile Donor Centre earlier this month.

He started donating blood about four years ago but an injury a year later had prevented recent donations.

“I heard a Red Cross Mobile Donor Centre was visiting our base and I said to myself, 'This year I’m going to do it’,” Wing Commander Pausina said.

He said he was initially inspired to roll up his sleeves by Major Anne Oliver, one of his course mates at the Australian Command and Staff College.

“Anne frequently gave blood and plasma, and I was really impressed by her incredible generosity and selflessness.

“She invited me along but I was quite reluctant at first because needles used to make me cringe. Eventually I decided to give it a go because I wanted to challenge myself, and potentially save lives.”

He got over the fear of needles and appreciated the opportunity to take part in a good cause and give back to the community.

“Giving blood to those in need is a small gesture but I know my action can go a long way and make a difference,” he said.

“Now that I am the commanding officer of a unit, I want to use my actions to inspire others to make the same contributions and I was very pleased to see a third of my uniformed personnel roll up their sleeve and donate.

“Blood donation is also a good morale booster for the team and I would like to encourage members to pick up blood donation as a life-saving habit.”

Between September 1 and  December 8, Air Force, Navy, Army and Australian Public Service members will give blood or plasma to help Defence reach its 2019 target of 9000 donations.

Last year, Air Force members generously donated 2115 times, saving more than 6000 lives.