Australia still needs nearly 5000 blood donations between Christmas and New Year in order to prevent a shortage of blood products vital to the treatment of cancer patients.
Regular donors are among the millions of busy Australians taking time for Christmas shopping and holidays, leading to a worrying drop in donor numbers, particularly on the 26th, 30th and 31st of December and the 2nd of January.
Yet the need for blood never stops, with one product vital to cancer treatment - platelets - having a shelf-life of just a few days, meaning cancer patients need a constant supply throughout the festive season.
Spokesperson Shaun Inguanzo said the organisation was today launching its national Christmas 'Blood Blitz' to help fill nearly 5000 appointments still needed between 24 December and 2 January.
"Thousands of Australian patients will need blood this Christmas and New Year in order to spend precious moments with friends and family," he said.
"Cancer patients are the biggest users of donated blood and rely on platelets to make it through chemotherapy.
"The problem is platelets cannot be stock-piled for longer than a few days, so we need a constant, fresh supply as anything collected by Christmas Day will have been used by early next week.”
Mr Inguanzo said a blood donation was a gift that money couldn’t buy because it allowed people to spend time with those they love most.
“With Australians set to spend $48.1 billion leading up to Christmas, the greatest gift of all will cost you just an hour of your time and could help to save or improve three lives.
Make an appointment to give by calling 13 14 95 or visiting www.donateblood.com.au/make-appointment
 Australian Retailers Association, Australian Shoppers to Spend $48.1 Billion This Christmas, Roy Morgan, http://retail.org.au/news-posts/australian-shoppers-to-spend-48-1-billion-this-christmas/ November 23, 2016.