Donate your blood or bone marrow | Leukaemia Foundation

Donate your blood or bone marrow

About blood donation

Did you know that one third of donated red cells in Australia are used to help treat people with cancer and other blood diseases?

Blood donations are literally life-saving for many people with blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma.

A 470 ml blood donation is made of red cells, plasma and platelets, which are separated out after donation. On average, one acute leukaemia patient needs nine units (2.25 litres) of red cells each month, or 36 units (just over 1 litre) of platelets each month.

One average patient needs 18 people to donate blood each month. The average treatment time for leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma is eight months, but it can last for years.

So, a great way to support a loved one and others living with blood cancers is to donate blood.

How to donate blood

To donate or learn more, visit the Australian Red Cross Blood Service website or call 13 14 95

About Bone Marrow donations

A bone marrow transplant can sometimes be the only treatment option for people with aggressive blood cancer.

Only one in three people find a matched bone marrow donor within their family. Two thirds rely on the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) or other international registries to find a suitable match.

The ABMDR is a list of people who have registered to donate stem cells to help treat a person with blood cancer. It is linked to a worldwide network of donor registries. By joining the registry, you could be selected to help someone anywhere in the world — while staying right here in Australia.

Only one in 1,000 people registered will be asked to donate in any year. If you match with a patient, you’ll be contacted and asked to provide a second blood sample to confirm the match. Once you’re officially matched, you’ll receive counselling to ensure you are able and willing to donate.

Because your bone marrow tissue type is directly related to your ethnic origin, Australia needs more people who who reflect many different communities to register and help match more patients.

How to register as a Bone Marrow donor

To register, simply make an appointment to give blood and ask for an ABMDR consent form when you donate. You need to be between 18 and 45 years of age at the time of registration and in good health.

To learn more, contact the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry on 13 14 95 or visit

Last updated on September 26th, 2018

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.

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