In support of the Defence Blood Challenge, the ship's company of HMAS Cerberus rallied together to book out an entire daily schedule at the Frankston donor centre in Victoria.

Seventy three members made time to donate blood last week to help make a dent in the ADF’s overall target of 9500 donations.

Navy Victorian blood ambassador Leading Seaman marine technician Brittany Abel said she was keen to get people involved.

“I first donated when I was living in Darwin in 2015 and have tried to make regular donations since,” Leading Seaman Abel said.

“I love helping people and being in a team environment – it only motivates me to do more.

“I look forward to reaching out to all Navy personnel and their families across Victoria and strive to make a dent in our donation target.”

With the current pandemic restrictions in place, donating blood is considered an essential service and remains vital to keep the country's blood supplies secure.

Donors in restricted areas are still able to donate as long as they meet the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood standard eligibility criteria, which includes feeling well, not having been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case and not waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test.

Leading Seaman Abel said the best part of the day was seeing a large number of first-time donors.

“Giving blood for the first time is such a rewarding experience and knowing you are helping save lives,” she said.

“We were able to fill all 73 donation appointments on the day but I was pleased to see 39 first-time donors who contributed to the day's success.”

Seaman Gap Year sailor Louise Schultz said her first donation was made special by the fact it occurred on her 19th birthday.

“The staff at the Frankston donor centre made the day special. They dressed up in superhero outfits and then when my donation was complete they sang Happy Birthday to me,” Seaman Schultz said. 

“It really made the moment very special.” 

The Defence Blood Challenge will run until  December 8.

For more information on the Defence Blood Challenge visit https://www.donateblood.com.au/lifeblood-teams/defence