Despite the challenges faced in 2020 because of COVID-19, the team at HMAS Cerberus in Victoria defied the odds with a record number of blood donations; a record they hope to surpass when the challenge kicks off in September. 

The driving force behind their success was then Cerberus Command Warrant Officer, now Lieutenant Commander Michael "Chuck" Connors. 

Humbled and overwhelmed with emotion on receiving the Lifeblood Defence Force Challenge 2020 award, Lieutenant Commander Connors said 2020 had its challenges. 

“It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the team that helped Cerberus achieve their success,” Lieutenant Commander Connors said. 

“Our blood champions and ambassadors need to be acknowledged for their continuous encouragement throughout the challenge.

“Petty Officer Brittany Abel was a great ambassador; her dedication to motivating our sailors and officers to donate was outstanding.

“Warrant Officer Stuart Armitage and Leading Seaman Joshua Neilsen led by example, achieving the maximum number of donations during the challenge. 

“None of this was possible without the Frankston Donor Centre's staff, who were always friendly and reassuring our donors, and of course thanks to our 215 members who donated.”

215 members gave 345 donations, 284 plasma and 61 whole blood.

98 sailors and officers donated for the first time, contributing to Navy winning the 2020 award for most new donors. 

Looking forward to the 2021 blood challenge, Lifeblood’s Sarah Lacey said it was an honour to work with the Cerberus team. 

“Chuck’s leadership and drive in embedding the blood donation program at Cerberus has resulted in strong foundations on which we can build,” Ms Lacey said. 

“And let’s not forget the lives they have all saved.” 

For more information on the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, visit www.donateblood.com.au