Giving blood an essential connection to saving lives

15 March 2024

Saving lives seems to come naturally to a cohort of Essential Energy people from the Port Macquarie area.

They topped the list of organisations who donated blood or plasma last year and will be back in the chair flexing their veins to deliver much-needed blood products to the one-in-three people who will need donated blood in their lifetime.

The Port Macquarie team was an essential lifeline for Lifeblood by amassing 258 donations ahead of teams from Charles Sturt University (222 donations), NSW Police (206 donations), St Agnes Parish (147 donations) and NSW Rural Fire Service (130 donations).

With each donation providing life-saving blood products for three people, that’s 774 lives saved.

During the 2023 Energy Charter Blood Drive from March to May, Essential Energy donors also made a huge 167 donations of blood and plasma, coming second nationally behind Energy Queensland (a collection of energy companies), but in front of NSW counterparts Endeavour and Ausgrid.

Essential Energy will again join the Lifeblood 12-week Energy Charter Blood Drive from 1 March to 31 May 2024, which provides a great opportunity for new and existing donors to contribute to a very worthy cause. And you get paid time off to donate!

One of the Essential Energy Lifeblood champions is Aaron Thompson who has made more than 170 donations since his first in 2001.

A senior substation engineer at Port Macquarie, Aaron is a regular plasma donor and says it just seemed like a good thing to do, as his father and father-in-law were regular donors.

“I try to donate fortnightly, but it’s really a self-motivating thing for me,” Aaron says.

“Knowing you can help someone who doesn’t know you is what I like most about it.”

Donating has also helped save Aaron’s life after a routine blood test associated with donating showed increased markers for skin cancer. He’s now had several suspect moles removed and has regular check-ups.

System control technical officer Phil Maynard has not only spent 45 years with Essential Energy, he’s also just amassed his 335th donation.

His first was more than 20 years ago, but it’s a simple prophecy that keeps him coming back.

“Not enough people donate blood and it’s not a hard thing to do, plus there’s always the free sausage roll or a pie or a milkshake at the end,” Phil says.

“I’m a true believer that if you donate for the first time, you’ll keep going. It doesn’t matter how many times you donate, it’s the fact you’re helping others or giving people a little more time to be with their loved ones in certain circumstances.”

Lifeblood Port Macquarie Manager Ruth Harrison praised the commitment of the Essential Energy team, saying, “We are constantly amazed by the ongoing commitment to blood donation made by the Essential Energy team. The hour spent donating means so much to those needing blood products and is literally lifesaving. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the cause.”

Find out more:

Phil giving blood

Phil Maynard

Aaron standing in front of a banner after giving blood

Aaron Thompson