Truganina Fire Brigade 1st Lieutenant Graham Abbott regularly donates blood
For CFA volunteer Graham Abbott, blood donations not only provide lifesaving blood for others, but also helps him too.
The 1st Lieutenant with Truganina Fire Brigade suffers from haemochromatosis; a condition that causes your blood to absorb too much iron from the food you eat. While his blood is perfectly healthy, being able to donate it once every three months helps to regulate Graham’s iron supplies and ensure his levels remain consistent.
“It was a bit of a strange one, I only found out about it [the haemochromatosis] because I had to do a medical check for my insurance,” Graham said.
“Being genetic, it’s most commonly seen in people of Anglo-Saxon heritage and it is most pronounced in men. As a condition it has only really been diagnosed in the last 20 years.”
“It’s a win-win in a way. There’s nothing wrong with my blood, so everybody gets something from it. The blood bank gets a very regular donor and I get to get rid of some excess iron.”
Graham also has the universal donor blood type, O negative, meaning his blood is particularly valuable to the blood bank.
Graham is currently taking part in the 2021 Emergency Services Blood Challenge, which encourages friendly competition between our first responders all in the name of saving lives.
He said that the best part of blood donation is knowing that you’re helping out other people, and draws a parallel to his time volunteering with CFA.
“I think for me it’s just the fact that you can do something that costs nothing other than some time, and that helps so many people. It’s the same as CFA in many ways in that you’re giving some time to help someone else.”
Graham said he would encourage anyone who is able to donate blood and get involved in the Challenge.
“The police have won it for the last couple of years, I think CFA should have a shot at winning if everyone gets involved and gets behind this great cause.”
The Emergency Services Blood Challenge runs until 31 August, and CFA members, friends and family can join CFA’s team. Visit www.lifeblood.com.au for more information or to find you nearest location.