Graeme hits the ton, donates for the 100th time
GRAEME Wallace has donated over 50 litres of his blood to the Red Cross; that's enough to fill a small wine keg.
On Monday, the 60-year-old legend will be making his 100th donation.
He said times had changed significantly since he gave his first drop in Warwick.
"When I started I would have been about 30, and Mrs Handley would be out on the street and almost drag you in to donate,” he laughed.
"And if you were really lucky, you'd get a cigarette afterwards.”
Now, the retiree has to make a three-hour round trip to provide a service
that saves lives across the nation.
"It takes an hour to get there, an hour to give blood, and an hour to come back,” he said.
"I don't shop in Toowoomba, so I'm going there solely so I can donate.”
The Daily News reported last week that local donations had gone down by 75% since the mobile service was removed from Warwick.
"It's no surprise,” Mr Wallace said.
"We go north for six months of the year, so I work it so I can give in Townsville.
"But I've probably been to the Toowoomba blood bank four times since the Warwick service left.”
Mr Wallace has only ever given whole blood, which unlike plasma can only be donated every three months.
"It takes you 25 years to get to the 100 mark,” he said.
"So I wanted to give one more time, I thought that would be special.”
The mobile service
in Warwick was closed in 2015 to allow for greater plasma donations in Toowoomba.
A spokeswoman from the Red Cross said the mobile service would not be returning any time soon.
"With staff leaving the Toowoomba Blood Donor Centre to staff the mobile donor centre visiting Warwick and other areas, we were unable to meet this growing need for plasma,” she said.
"We're really grateful around 25% of Warwick's blood donors have continued to give blood by donating in Toowoomba.”
She said plasma could do more than providing blood transfusions.
"Plasma is used to make up to 18 different life-saving products and is in high demand,” she said.