Central West sporting clubs have teamed up with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood again this year as part of their annual blood drive, calling on players, staff and supporters to join the life-saving cause.
The Claret Cup Blood Challenge was initially formed as a way for Orange's rugby union clubs - Orange City and Emus - to come together to make a positive difference in their community, with some friendly rivalry too.
It expanded to include other clubs from around the region in 2020 and this year's fourth edition is following suit, with seven clubs from different codes all taking part in the 2021 drive.
Both of Bathurst's rugby clubs - Bulldogs and CSU - are taking part this year and are joined by Australian rules, football and rugby league clubs too. The Orange Tigers, Barnstoneworth United FC and Bathurst St Pat's will all be involved.
We want to encourage as many whole blood or plasma donations as we can, collectively.Emus club captain Jamil Khalfan
"Having so many clubs back on board across the region is really great to see because we want to encourage as many whole blood or plasma donations as we can, collectively," Emus club captain Jamil Khalfan said.
"That's the main priority, but making it competitive between the clubs boosts donations because even though it's a very friendly rivalry in this context, we do still like to get one over each other.
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"But there's a much bigger picture here, of course, which means we're calling for everyone and anyone involved with the clubs - players, coaches, staff, supporters - to play their part."
The Claret Club Blood Challenge runs from February 1 until the end of May and ties in the Easter and Anzac Day holiday periods, when donation numbers traditionally drop but demand for blood products increases.
"It's about increasing awareness as well, so whether people contribute to the challenge or not we'd definitely encourage the entire community to donate if they can," Mr Khalfan said.
"One donation can save up to three lives and there's always demand for more, particularly around this time of year. You get notified when your donation is being put to use as well, so it's a really easy way to make a positive difference and help save lives."
Together with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, all the clubs involved are expected to take part in a group donation - with full kit encouraged - to mark the official launch of this year's challenge, on February 1 at Orange Donor Centre.
Those wishing to donate, book a time online or find more information can head online to the Claret Cup Blood Challenge landing page.
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