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A, B, and O go missing to show urgent need for blood donors

Donna Coutts, June 11, 2018 7:00PM Kids News

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James and Stephanie with the A and O missing from the Adelaide Oval Scoreboard. Picture: Matt Turner media_cameraJames and Stephanie with the A and O missing from the Adelaide Oval Scoreboard. Picture: Matt Turner


Reading level: orange

In Australia, one blood donation is needed every 24 seconds and 100,000 new blood donors* are needed in the next year.

Hospitals need blood to give to sick or injured people.

Without new donors, the supply of blood runs out very quickly.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service has asked businesses to remove the A, O and B letters from their signs and logos for International Missing Type Day, a global* campaign* to draw attention to the urgent* need for donors of all blood types. It’s part of World Blood Donor Day on Thursday June 14.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokeswoman* Jessica Willet said demand* for donated blood continued to increase.

“Blood only has a shelf life* of 42 days and more than 25,000 donations are needed across Australia each week to meet patient needs,” she said.

“We need more local residents to sign up as blood or plasma* donors. If you’re already a donor, we’d ask you to please give one more donation each year — it really does help.”

Ms Willet said blood donors of all blood types were needed every day.

Victoria's third person to reach 700 blood donations media_cameraPaul Jenkins from Victoria celebrates with a cake after donating for the 700th time last year. Picture: Luis Enrique Ascui

Children can help by asking their parents, grandparents, teachers and adult friends to consider donating blood.

To donate, people must be aged 18-70, at least 50kg and healthy.

For information on how adults can donate blood, visit

Blood donations media_cameraBreanna Kilgour gives blood at the Townsville Hospital in Queensland. Picture: Zak Simmonds

PETS NEED BLOOD DONATIONS TOO: Calling all cat blood donors


The main blood types or groups are A+, A–, B+, B–, AB+, AB–, O+ and O–

Everyone has a particular type and that depends on what antibodies* and other substances are on the surface of your blood cells.

You inherit your blood type from a mix of your parents’ genes*.

In Australia, the most common is O+ and the rarest is AB–

When someone needs blood because they are injured or sick, it’s best to give them the same type as their own. If their own type isn’t available, some other types are suitable.

O– is universal, which means it can be given to anyone. It is often used in an emergency if the patient’s blood type isn’t available.

AB plasma can be give to a patient with any blood type. Plasma is the yellowy liquid of blood without red and white blood cells.


donors: people who donate or give

global: world

campaign: program to achieve a goal

spokeswoman: woman who speaks for that group

demand: need

shelf life: how long it stays fresh for

plasma: yellowy liquid of blood without red and white blood cells

antibodies: a type of protein that fights germs

genes: information about how you look and your body works that comes from your parents



1. How many new blood donors are needed in the next year?

2. How long does blood stay fresh for?

3. Who can give blood? What age and weight must they be?

4. There are eight main blood types. What are they?

5. Plasma is an important blood product adults can donate. What is plasma?


Convincing grown ups to donate

The news article explains that children aren’t able to donate blood themselves but can help by asking the adults in their lives to consider donating. Read through the article and write down at least five dot points that you could use to convince a grownup to make a blood donation.

Extension: Some adults may be reluctant to donate blood for a variety of reasons. See if you can come up with an answer to combat these comments from an adult you might be trying to encourage:

I don’t like needles.

I haven’t got the time to go and do that.

I’m 66, I don’t think they’ll let me donate because I’m too old.

I already donated blood last year.

Time: Allow 15 minutes

Curriculum links: English, Health and Physical Education, Personal and Social Capability


With a partner identify all the doing words/verbs in this text. Highlight them in yellow and then make a list of them all down your page. Now see if you and your partner can come up with a synonym for the chosen verb. Make sure it still makes sense in the context it was taken from.

Try to replace some of the original verbs with your synonyms and discuss if any are better and why.

Curriculum Links: English, Big Write and VCOP

QUESTION: How would you get more people to donate blood?

Use full sentences to explain your best idea.

Extra Reading in health