CENTURY PARTNERSHIP: Gabrielle Upton and fiance Karl Maere have accumulated 111 blood donations between them.
CENTURY PARTNERSHIP: Gabrielle Upton and fiance Karl Maere have accumulated 111 blood donations between them. Contributed

Saving a stranger? Let's make it a date

THE thought of laying on your back with a needle sticking out of your arm probably doesn't evoke the most romantic of feelings for most people.

But with Valentine's Day approaching, Ipswich couple Karl Maere and Gabrielle Upton are planning to prove that giving a potentially life saving blood donation can be a labour of love.

Having already provided a combined total of 111 blood donations through the Red Cross Blood Service, the pair has locked in a special "donation date” for February 13 - the day before Valentine's Day.

"I started donating because of my dad,” Ms Upton said. "He gave fairly regularly as I was growing up, giving more than 100 donations.

"This really inspired me to become a blood donor too.

"Karl started donating when he was at school, and now we regularly donate plasma together. It has become a bit like a date night.”

The young couple will tie the knot on March 16, and encourages others to consider donating as a way of making a real difference to people's lives.

"Everyone is loved by someone. It could be your fiancé, friend or colleague, and giving blood or plasma is such a wonderful way to show you care,” Ms Upton said.

Ipswich residents are being urged to join the Australian Red Cross Blood Service's 'Feel FAB Feb' campaign by giving a life-saving donation during the month of love.

Blood Service spokeswoman Sandee Thompson said one in three Australians will need a blood product in their lifetime, and "Feel FAB Feb” was the perfect time to help save the lives of loved-ones right across Australia.

"This Valentine's Day there's no better way to feel fab than by being a blood donor,” Ms Thompson said.

"Giving blood only takes an hour of your time, and the donation you give will help save three lives; potentially someone's husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend.”

To make an appointment, call the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 131495, visit donateblood.com.au or download the app.