Aussies are being urged to "roll up their sleeves" and donate blood this Christmas to prevent a national shortage of platelets, which are used largely by cancer and trauma patients.
Red Cross Blood Service spokesperson Jemma Faulkenmire is calling on 4,000 people to make a donation this year, adding the simple gesture would actually save lives.
"Needles are a big fear for some people but it's a fear that most people overcome very quickly," she said.
"Unfortunately, people in hospitals don't really have a choice about that needle, we can't save lives unless people come into donor centres, roll up their sleeves, and donate blood.
Ms Falkenmire said Australians could make an appointment over the holiday period, with centres open to give blood between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.
“The period between Christmas and the New Year is when platelet stocks are most at risk,” she said.
“That’s why we are today launching our Christmas and New Year Blood Blitz, to remind people that the need for blood doesn’t take a break.
“Cancer patients are the biggest users of donated blood in Australia; it’s critical to helping them through chemotherapy.
“With one in three of us needing donated blood in our lifetime, the life you help save this festive season could even be that of a loved one.”
To learn more about becoming a donor this Christmas and New Year visit donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95.