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August 10, 2017
WO2 Andrew Hetherington
IT TOOK WO2 Geneen Lord less
than five seconds to accept the role as
Army’s Blood Challenge Ambassador
The medical assistant and CSM of
2CHC at 1CHB in Townsville has seen
first-hand the value of what blood prod-
ucts can do in her 23-year career of help-
ing sick or injured soldiers in Australia,
East Timor and Afghanistan.
Earlier this year WO2 Lord took a
phone call which changed her year and
outlook on donating blood.
“In June Maj Conway Bown from
Army Headquarters called our unit look-
ing for a volunteer to become the 2017
ambassador and I said yes,” WO2 Lord
“I then wondered what I’d got myself
into, not knowing what it would involve.
“I accepted the role to do something
different and, being in medical corps,
I knew a bit about blood products and
what they can do.”
During her deployment to
Afghanistan in 2013 embedded with US
forces in RC South at Kandahar, WO2
Lord had a unique experience dealing
“We transported blood products
around health facilities by air, which
were called vampire flights,” WO2 Lord
“It was essential patients received this
blood and it saved a lot of lives.”
Prior to becoming Army’s 2017
Defence Blood Challenge Ambassador,
WO2 Lord had never visited an
Australian Red Cross Blood Service
donation centre to donate blood.
“After I found out I was the ambas-
sador I thought how can I be in this
position and not have ever donated
blood,” she said. “So I quickly called
the Australian Red Cross blood centre
at James Cook University and they said
come on down, so I didn’t have time to
think about it and went there on the same
day with two officers from my unit.
“The funny thing was the person who
connected me to take my blood was an
ex-Army medic who I knew, which made
it easier for me.”
She said the process was not a dif-
“It was completely pain free and all it
cost me was my time,” WO2 Lord said.
“Afterwards I got a treat too, a sau-
sage roll and a cup of tea.
“It was a great feeling afterwards, as I
knew I had helped someone who needed
WO2 Lord had never before made
a donation simply because in the past
she didn’t know anyone who had needed
“I always thought it was something
someone else did, because I had no one
close who needed blood and didn’t really
feel obligated to,” she said.
“But now I’ve totally changed my
perspective on donating, as there are so
many people who need the products.”
This year WO2 Lord has a plan to
spread the importance of Army personnel
donating during the blood challenge.
“I’m planning to educate as many sol-
diers and their families in Townsville and
throughout Army as I can during my time
as ambassador on how donating blood
products can save lives,” WO2 Lord said.
“I plan to run the odd fundraising
morning tea on the base to get the word
The 2017 Defence Blood Challenge will run from
September 1 – December 8 and aims to exceed
7000 donations. This year donors are encouraged
to donate more than once by donating whole
blood and plasma.
Defence personnel and their families are
encouraged to book their appointments now for
For all group bookings coordinators should
contact the National Community Relations Line
on 1300 886 524; for individual appointments
donors should call the National Contact Centre
on 131495, an appointment time can also
be requested online at donateblood.com.au/
Once you have made your donation, log on to the
Defence Blood Challenge page (donateblood.
com.au/red25/defence) and register the donation
against the relevant group or service.
The Defence Blood Challenge intranet
page can be found at drnet.defence.
Blood ambassador spreads the message
What you need to know about donating
Lord prepares to
Photo: Ned Meldrum
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