School helps save lives


Leading the way: Menai High School is coming first in the NSW Vampire Shield with the most blood donations. Pictured (from left) are Brendon Rose, Josh Comarmond, Ashley Moroney, Rachael Coleman and nurse assistant Elaine Mannix. Picture: Jane Dyson

THE NSW Vampire Shield is a competition senior students at Menai High School really want to win.

Students, staff, family members and the community have been trying to donate as much blood as they can to not just take home the title, but to also save lives.

The competition started at the beginning of each financial year and runs for 12 months.

So far in this year’s competition, Sutherland Shire schools have given more than 1600 blood donations — saving more than 4800 lives.

Menai High School is leading the pack with almost 300 donations and the school plans to reach 350 by the end of the competition in June.

The drive has been led by four Red Cross Blood Service youth ambassadors from year 12 — Ashley Moroney, 17, Rachael Coleman, 18, Brendon Rose, 17, and Josh Comarmond, 17.

All four have donated blood three times each and they have been organising trips for fellow students to donate at the Red Cross Blood Donation Centre at Miranda.

Ashley said she decided to become involved after listening to the benefits of donating blood at a conference.

“A guy spoke about how it had helped him and said that one in 30 will donate but one in three will need it,” Ashley said.

“Our whole year has been very enthusiastic and people should not be scared by it because putting into perspective, 10 to 15 minutes of your time could save a life.”

Lauren Dransfield, community relations officer at the Shire Blood Donor Centre at Miranda, said that with donations running low, the service relied on high schools to boost numbers because of the strong support the schools showed.

There are rules for donating blood: if you have a cold, cough or flu your blood cannot be used; the minimum age is 16 and people under 18 need to weigh at least 50 kilograms; donors need to wait six months after a tattoo; donors need to be well hydrated and make sure they eat something; everyone donates 470 millilitres of blood.