Blood bank rally

FURIOUS residents will rally outside the Griffith Blood Bank tomorrow night in a desperate last-ditch attempt to save the ill-fated facility.

Protesters have called on the community to join the chorus demanding the Red Cross reverse its decision to close the blood donor centre.

Rally organiser Brian Sainty was thankful politicians from every level of government had written "please explain" letters to the state blood service but said people power would be the best way to make the community's feeling felt.

"People need to come so we can show there is a significant number amongst our community who feel a replacement by a mobile unit once every three weeks will not be nearly sufficient," Mr Sainty said.

"Everyone who wants to contribute to condemning the actions of the Red Cross and make some positive suggestions to support the blood bank's reinstatement will be given the chance."

Regular donors have inundated the centre at Griffith Base Hospital all week to make their final contribution of blood or just to thank staff for their years of dedication.

After 26 years of taking blood donations from charitable locals, donor centre manager Doreen Stinson is still reeling from the shock decision to shut the service.

"All the staff here are very flat and a bit angry because they saw themselves in blood banking forever," she said.

"We weren't given any notice at all, the directive came straight from the national head office and we weren't consulted.

"The staff have taken it very hard and have questioned their own integrity, but I want to make it clear that the staff here have been amazing.

"The donors come for us because no one likes needles so we have to earn their trust and then they come back because we're good at what we do."

Local blood donor Dolores Manente was offended by prominent advertisements calling on people to roll up their sleaves to give blood given the recent decision.

"I think it's disgusting the way they have gone about it, not to mention the wonderful girls there who took the blood and the volunteers who helped out," Mrs Manente said.

"My message to the Red Cross is if you think we're a one horse town, come out here and find out for yourself and you'll see Griffith is a centre for a lot of towns and we're bigger than they must think.

"My mother had heart surgery and she needed blood three times and I was told donating plasma was very important but it will be very hard for me to donate any more."

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The rally will begin at 5.15pm tomorrow on the lawn below the blood donor centre car park at Griffith Base Hospital

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