ROBERT McGregor never dreamt ill health would force him to rely on blood donations from others to survive, despite being a blood donor himself for more than 12 years.
Mr McGregor was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2011 and has used 25 platelet donations.
He is awaiting a bone marrow transplant in March.
Yesterday the 39-year-old Newcrest worker’s friends and family visited the Orange Blood Doner Centre to give blood and join the bone marrow registry.
Mr McGregor said donors’ generosity was lifesaving and was pleased so many people gave up some of their public holiday to donate.
“If you donate blood it can save a life, this blood’s not only used to treat sickness it’s also used in emergencies,” he said.
“I’ve got family, friends and work colleagues donating.”
Mr McGregor said people from all walks of life were encouraged to donate as long as they fit the health criteria.
He feels lucky to be getting a bone marrow transplant in March, after a 29-year-old Sydney man was identified as a match on the bone marrow registry.
“I’m very grateful to him,” he said.
Mr McGregor’s friend Luck Buckland said he was happy to take part in yesterday’s blood drive, having donated in the past.
“Everyone should do it, it’s not as bad as what these guys (including Mr McGregor) have to go through,” he said.
The blood donor centre hoped to collect 30 units of whole blood during the day.
Orange Red Cross Blood Service spokeswoman Helen Woods urged the community to help cancer patients like Mr McGregor by donating blood and signing up to the bone marrow registry.
“When people donate blood they simply have to ask for their blood to be tested, and their results can then be put on the registry,” she said.
“Bone marrow can be assessed through your blood and you can be a match, regardless of blood type.
“Donating bone marrow is a quick and simple procedure and donors can return to work hours afterwards, with no need for a hospital stay.”
Mrs Woods said blood donations were essential in the treatment of cancer patients.
“A component of blood called platelets is vital for patients with cancer or leukaemia who are undergoing chemotherapy,” she said.
“Donating blood only takes an hour of your time and every donation helps to save three lives.”