Help to save many lives

OVER the last 45 years Joan Hamilton, of Nimmitabel, has saved more than 330 lives. She isn't a doctor, a paramedic, a police officer or a lifeguard.

Her ability to save lives is much simpler than any of those professions.

She is one of 606,000 Australians who give blood to the Red Cross annually.

Mrs Hamilton first started giving blood in 1968. She was working at a hospital and saw how vital blood donations were.

"In my younger days I spent a couple of years working as a nurse and I could see the benefits of giving blood," she said.

She has seen first hand the need for blood, having received a transfusion once herself.

"I had a 10 year break [from giving blood] in 1983 when I had cancer," she said.

"I was given a transfusion once.

"It might have not been life saving but it certainly helped me get on the road to recovery."

At the time, she was told she would never be able to give blood again because of the radiation, but 10 years later found out that she could.

She has now donated blood 110 times. With one donation, helping save three lives she has helped save 330 lives.

She is modest about the number of donations she has made and says many other people she knows have made 300- 400 donations.

She donates every three months when the mobile unit is in Cooma and this week will be no different.

The Red Cross blood service donor mobile unit will be in Cooma on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Mrs Hamilton is encouraging anyone who can, to head along and donate blood.

"When I was younger I used to feel energetic after I gave blood, now I have to pace myself on the day I give.

"Friends have said I shouldn't give it anymore but if it saves one or four lives of course its worth it," she said.

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