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August 2, 2012
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CPL Max Bree: (02) 6266 7608
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SERVING AUSTRALIA WITH PRIDE NEWS
SAILORS from HMAS Kuttabul
answered an emergency call from the
Australian Red Cross Blood Ser vice to
donate blood as supplies plummeted.
More than 50 sailors gave blood to
the visiting Red Cross Blood Mobile
Unit at the Navy Indoor Sports Centre
on July 6 after an urgent appeal for
Diana Craven, of the Blood
Ser vice, said the visit to Kuttabul
was a golden opportunity to replenish
blood stocks that had reduced to less
than a three-day supply.
"It's been a difficult year for the
blood supply, and with colds and flu
now stopping regular donors coming
in, we really need more help to build
stocks," Ms Craven said.
With the Blood Service requiring
at least six days' supply at all times to
ensure it has enough blood for patients
who need it, the organisation called on
the Navy for assistance.
ABBM Julianne Cropley jumped
at the opportunity to donate because
she is a rare blood type.
"Donating is the right thing to do
because I am AB positive, which is very
rare and could save the lives of people
who need it," ABBM Cropley said.
CPO Graeme Cr uickshank said he
made his 20th donation of O posi-
tive blood in recognition of the blood
transfusion he required in 1983.
"Giving blood helps other people
in need and saves lives,"he said.
Ms Craven said each blood dona-
tion could save three lives.
"We need to bolster blood stocks
now and we can't do that without
community support, including the
ADF," she said.
CPL Mark Doran
ALTHOUGH he was in a coma and
can't remember many details, LSMT
Iain Swinton, of HMAS Huon, is well
aware that receiving donated blood
products helped save his life.
Now as the blood ambassador for
Navy for 2012 he hopes to help pro-
mote how vital being a blood donor
can be for people in many different
situations to help their quality of life.
"I realised there was a program
out there but I didn't realise how
important it was or how low blood
stocks can be," he said.
On Anzac Day 2009, LSMT
Swinton was near the end of his post
deployment leave and had the privi-
lege of being the HMAS Hawkesbury
life ring bearer for the parade through
Tragedy str uck a day later when
he was riding his motorcycle to work
and was hit by an oncoming car that
crossed into his lane.
"It knocked me off my bike and
I received serious multiple injuries,"
"I was transported to the Royal
North Shore Hospital intensive care
and placed into an induced coma."
Bruising to the brain, multiple back
fractures, a broken wrist, shoulders,
shoulder blades and catastrophic leg
damage were LSMT Swinton's main
He was not revived from the coma
until May 9 and was told immedi-
ately his right lower leg would need
"The head surgeon said because
my leg had so many broken bones I
would have a better quality of life with
a prosthetic limb rather than live with
a severely handicapped leg," he said.
"I was so messed up, I remember
being told things, but I didn't have
any real concept of time.
"I spent a long time trying to
recover. I was in a spinal suit for eight
weeks and was totally dependent on
the nurses and medical staff.
"I was literally broken from the top
down. I went through a bad patch there."
Gradually, LSMT Swinton
regained the use of his arms and a
few weeks after the spinal suit was
removed, he progressed to being able
to use a wheelchair for simple tasks
such as going to the toilet.
When he became more sta-
ble and his pain medication was
reduced, he was moved to the Royal
LSMT Swinton said this was when
he was at his lowest.
"It was the first time I was by
myself and away from the support I
had been given by Defence person-
nel," he said.
"I just wanted to get out of there,
which was one thing that gave me my
motivation, but I didn't start home
visits until October."
There were complications with the
amputation and pain issues and it was
nearly a year before LSMT Swinton
was able to use a prosthetic properly
and start moving around independently.
Getting back to work was also a
gradual process. He started by work-
ing only half days a few days a week
before building up his endurance to be
able to work a full day.
LSMT Swinton secured a full-
time position at the Navy's hyperbaric
chamber and, with conditioning, said
his goal was to be able to pass his fit-
ness tests as normal and prove he was
still an asset.
"There was all the regular training
to complete as well such as fire-fight-
ing, basic combat and sur vivability
and the swim test," he said.
"It took me another year to work
out the medical employment classifi-
cation system, tick all the boxes and
by February last year I had passed my
physical fitness test and was again
ready for sea.
"I still train in the gym as I did
before, but now I also have to do a
lot more core strength exercises and
make an extra effort to stay in peak
In April, he returned to sea with
a posting on board HMAS Huon as a
maritime systems controller.
Chance to give back
MEETING THE CHALLENGE: LSMT Iain Swinton, of HMAS Huon, is the 2012 Defence Organisation Blood Challenge ambassador for Navy.
Photo courtesy of Australian Red Cross Blood Service
''-- LSMT Iain Swinton,
Navy blood ambassador
I didn't realise how
important it was or
how low blood stocks
If you donate regularly
or have received blood,
we want to hear from
you. Email Navy News at:
gov.au and share your story.
TELL US YOUR
IT'S ALMOST TIME
TO SIGN UP
THE 2012 Defence Organisa-
tion Blood Challenge will be
launched this month and run
from September to November.
A partnership between the
ADO and the Australian Red
Cross Blood Ser vice has
produced more than 5000 do -
nations in the last three years
and potentially saved more
than 6000 lives.
Now in its fourth year the
Blood Challenge is Australia's
Navy, Army, Air Force and
Defence APS employees
compete over a three -month
period each year to make
the highest number of blood
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