Bundy OAM awardee hoping to inspire blood donations
A BUNDABERG woman has been selected as a recipient for a Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to the community.
Sharon resident Robyn Murray has been donating blood since 1962, but says she’s not a superhero.
“It’s something that anybody could do. You don’t have to be a genius, you don’t have to be good at something, people with good health can do it,” she said.
“It was something I could do, I had a relative who needed a transfusion and I thought well, I can do that too. So I did.
“I was 18. I’m 76 now.”
Over that time, Mrs Murray says she has donated blood roughly 530 times, but hopes that’s not the reason she’s getting the OAM, saying consistency was more important than the volume of blood donated.
“I hope it’s because I have done it constantly for 58 years – I’m only doing this for the advertising by the way,” she laughed.
“Any time they can get the advertising for free, good, because they need people to do it on a consistent basis.
“There isn’t a substitute. You have blood, or you don’t have blood. There’s just nothing else.”
She said everyone who gets a big award must say it, but she didn’t do it for the medal.
“The thing is, you get asked if you will accept the medal,” she said.
“You then make a decision. As far as I’m concerned, I know who nominated me and I know he’s doing it for the publicity for the blood bank.
“If that’s what he wants – and that’s what we need – I will do it. I don’t mind.”
She said she didn’t even know what the medal looked like, and, humbly, hoped that the publicity would help inspire other people to donate.
“I have children who are very down to Earth. When I rang my daughter and told her I’m getting an OAM she said ‘Whatever for?’,” Mrs Murray said.
“So, it brings you down to earth, but really, whatever for am I getting it? I’ve not done anything exceptional.
“But it might inspire other people to give blood, and regularly. Regularly is the thing.”
She doesn’t regret donating one bit, saying there were many benefits from the regular, free and necessary health checks to the interesting people she has met along the way and of course the provided morning teas and lunches for donators.
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And practices have changed for the better since 1962, with Mrs Murray saying back then, donators needed to receive an anaesthetic before a large needle was inserted in their arm.
“The expression ‘your blood is worth bottling’ is definitely true, it went into a glass bottle,” she said.
“These days it goes into bags, it’s a very fine needle, I don’t even feel it and they don’t have to give you an anaesthetic to start with.
“You just get the needle, give your blood and off you go.”
Luckily, her inspiring attitude has already paid dividends for others in her life.
Mrs Murray said one of her son’s friends decided to donate after she hit 500 donations a few years ago.
She said he went along, but his haemoglobin levels were so low they were off the charts.
A trip to the doctor later and he discovered he had stage two bowel cancer.
“They won’t pick up that you’ve got bowel cancer, but they will pick up that there’s something wrong in your blood,” she said, encouraging people to at least give donating a shot once and see how it went.