Banding together to make a difference

Banding together to make a difference

Air Force Band members well-practised at working together and have put their teamwork skills to another good use during this year’s Defence Blood Challenge. 

Squadron Leader Mark Pentreath has been donating for 15 years and strongly supported the Defence Blood Challenge during his tenure as Warrant Officer of the Air Force. Now, he is continuing that effort as Commanding Officer of the Air Force Band. 

“At this moment in time, we’re more separated from the community than ever before. Donating blood is a small way of making me feel part of the broader Melbourne community, hopefully helping someone in their moment of need,” Squadron Leader Pentreath said. 

The newest member of the Air Force Band, Aircraftwoman Chloe Bruer-Jones, faced her fear to help Defence reach its target of 9500 donations. 

Although scared at first, she was proud to be able to join her fellow band members in donating. 

“I wanted to start donating for a while but always held back because of my fear of needles,” Aircraftwoman Bruer-Jones said.

“The Defence Blood Challenge gave me the push I needed to start.”

Seventeen Air Force Band members have rolled up their sleeves to donate during the challenge, some more than once.

With each donation having the potential to save up to three lives, the Air Force Band has generated a significant effect as a team. 

Corporal Stuart Byrne donated twice during the challenge.

First he donated blood, then plasma a few weeks later and his donation is already saving lives at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“It’s such a worthwhile thing to do and all it takes is a bit of time,” Corporal Byrne said. 

Sergeant Brenton Burley had donated 26 times in the past. 

The challenge gave him extra motivation to begin donating again and, as a result, added two more donations to his already substantial tally.

“The Defence Blood Challenge kicked me into action to get donating again,” Sergeant Burley said.

You may be able to donate blood, plasma or platelets. Each type of blood donation is used for different medical treatments, and your blood type determines the best donation for you to make.

Every donation type has its own important role in supporting those in need. 

Red Cross Lifeblood Donor Centres are open across Australia, and the Lifeblood Mobile Donor Vans will also be visiting Defence establishments throughout the Challenge. To book your appointment, call Australian Red Cross Lifeblood on 13 14 95 or visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.