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Giving life A shake

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Giving life A shake

Love for her daughter is driving a Coast mum to change the world for all blood recipients, one podcast at a time. WORDS: Caitlin Zerafa.

A Sunshine Coast mother raising awareness for blood and plasma donations is being nominated for a global award – the only Aussie in her category.

Inspired by her daughter’s chronic autoimmune disorder, Kate Fisher created the podcast Milkshakes for Marleigh, which tells the stories of blood donors and their recipients.

Seven-year-old Marleigh was diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis and epilepsy at age three.

It means her immune system identifies her healthy brain cells as foreign and attacks them, resulting in brain inflammation and prolonged seizure activity. But it is thanks to the generosity of complete strangers who roll up their sleeves regularly to donate their plasma that Marleigh is still alive.

Ms Fisher has been selected as a finalist for the 2023 Women Changing the World Awards.

She is the only Australian finalist in the Emerging Woman Changing the World category.

The awards celebrate and recognise women achieving outstanding success in areas such as sustainability, humanitarian work, leadership, advocacy, tech, product development, education, health and innovation.

In the past 12 months, Ms Fisher has written, hosted and produced more than 50 episodes of the podcast, created a community of blood donors and their recipients, and saved more than 1700 lives through blood donations to the Milkshakes for Marleigh Lifeblood Team.

She attributes this success to the authenticity in her storytelling and the sheer desperation and gratitude with which she approached this project, as without Australian blood donors her daughter wouldn’t still be alive.

“It’s such an incredible honour to be named as a finalist for this award, especially as the only Australian woman in such a strong field,” Ms Fisher says.

“I know what it’s like to live in fear that my child will die if not enough people donate blood and I don’t ever want another family to feel that terror.

“I saw the impact that telling Marleigh’s story had on recruiting new blood donors.

“So, I created this podcast to tell all the stories of Australian blood donors and their recipients.

“I can’t wait to get to London to represent Australia and share our message of the importance of blood donation at the International Women Changing the World Summit.”

The winners of the 2023 Women Changing the World Awards will be announced in London on April 18.

Season 3 of Milkshakes for Marleigh will be released in late April. The podcast is available on Spotify.

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