Royal Australian Navy Petty Officer Cassandra Duncan from Fleet Support Unit Australia faced her fears after being cleared to donate blood after major complications following a surgery in 2015.
Originally from Beachmere, Petty Officer Duncan faced a complicated routine surgery, which resulted in severe haemorrhaging that left her on life support.
“The pain was worse than childbirth, so I was yelling at the doctors to knock me out for as long as possible,” Petty Officer Duncan says.
After receiving a full blood transfusion that saved her life, it took three months for Petty Officer Duncan to recover from the ordeal.
“The blood they give you doesn’t have everything that your own blood has, so it took a few months before I had my energy again,” she says.
“I was really scared at the time.”
While she didn’t remember the life-saving transfusion, she remembered waking up in the ICU at St George Hospital.
“I kind of stirred and woke up and had a tube down my throat and my nose, and the nurse was like ‘go back to sleep, it’s alright’. I had no idea I was in a different hospital,” Petty Officer Duncan explains.
The experience left Petty Officer Duncan shaken – so much so she postponed a procedure in 2020 by six months to mentally prepare for it.
But on September 6, her whole world changed when she was cleared to donate blood for the first time since the incident.
Petty Officer Duncan says donating blood was something she wanted to do to show her gratitude for the donors that saved her life eight years prior.
She also registered as a Life Blood Team Champion for team ‘Navy FSU’ and encourages colleagues to donate.
“It is also a beautiful reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity and how we all have the power to help each other,” Petty Officer Duncan says.
“My advice is not to hesitate, the gratification of giving outweighs any fears.”
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