67 years of blood donations: How Fred Hynes gives back to the community in every way

Fred Hynes is the type of person who is simply unstoppable, in the best possible way.

“There’s one word that sums up my life and my attitude, and that word is ‘contribute,” Fred says. “It’s so easy to contribute positively.”

Aspire4Life have been proud to act as a sounding board for Fred, working with him through assessments to confirm the services that will support him to stay safe and in his own home for as long as possible.

“Fred is the type of person that could live to 113 years old,” says Keiren Freeman, his Home Support Assessor at Aspire4Life. “If he could climb Kilimanjaro, he would!”

Here is Fred’s inspirational story, and a bit more on his secrets to staying so fit and well.

A lifetime blood donor

Fred started donating blood when he was just 19 years old. He was always happy to help the community, and his blood type is especially significant: “My blood doesn’t have to be a critical match to other blood types, they can use it for anybody.”

Fred now donates blood once every three months, and gives plasma once between his blood donations, as he recognises the value of plasma for treating all kinds of illnesses.

He especially appreciates the health check that accompanies his blood donation. “They keep an eye on me, and if there’s something not quite right, they send it off and it comes back with the information they need.”

It was Fred’s mother that inspired his community-minded nature. He admits that he grew up shy and “scared of his own shadow”; however, his mother was always putting up her hands for being involved in the school canteen and other aspects of his life.

“It took me most of my life to realise how much hard work she had put in. And when I finally focused on all her efforts, I realised how important it was to participate. To join in and sit up front, not just be an onlooker.”

A legacy leading to better things for all

When Fred left school in the 1950s, he found work as an apprentice at OPSM creating lenses for glasses.

“We would be there, choosing the right tools for the curves we needed to grind into the lens, and cutting and edging everything to the shape of the frame.”

It’s this knowledge that has led him to the SightFirst program run through the Lions Australia International Foundation. The program fights the major causes of preventable and reversible blindness, and assists those who are visually impaired.

“With my knowledge of glasses, I can sort through any glasses we have donated from optometrists, or individuals who are giving us their spare glasses.”

The glasses are then cleaned, graded, grouped and packed to go to countries in need across the world.

“I’ve been part of the Lions Club for 23 years now,” adds Fred. “I’m very appreciative of how Lions is international and so advanced in fighting preventative blindness.”

Maintaining health and safety

Fred’s attitude and proactive approach to health has worked wonders. Keeping fit and well means Fred and his beautiful wife can spend as much time together as possible, going out on day trips.

“Everyone around me tells me to keep on keeping on,” Fred shares. “They say – don’t stop all your activities. Although I do act more like a 76-year-old than an 86-year-old and sometimes I get very tired!”

Aspire4Life have supported Fred by working with him to identify supports to remain independent in his own home.The team have sent referrals for services such as a handyman to install safety strips on the front steps, and a gardener to support Fred with one of his least-favourite chores.

“Fred is doing everything he possibly can to live his best life, and we want to support him through the right processes to access the services,” Keiren from Aspire4Life says.

“Fred continues to move forward with his life and is very proactive with his health and mobility.

“It’s the perfect example of how we can support people even if they are not unwell or concerned about their mobility. My Aged Care is about being informed and arming yourself with knowledge to access what is or isn’t available.”

Fred’s top five tips to a long, healthy life

Fred loves a chat, and isn’t shy about sharing his wisdom with his seven grandchildren, as well as the rest of the community.

Here are his top tips for maintaining a happy and healthy life.

  • Be aware of your diet: “I love chocolate, but I do make sure to have a great deal of fruit and vegetables.”
  • Keep physically active: “I still own bicycles and still try to get out to ride. I still walk quite a lot and I walk very fast; I’m really moving. I don’t amble about. I will enjoy the view and talk with a friend and then we’re off again.”
  • Maintain a proactive approach to your health: “I expect to be well, and if I’m not, it’s up to me to do something about it.”
  • Making friends is everything: “While I’m out on walks, I might smile at someone coming towards me. They stop and say, ‘do I know you?’ I say – ‘you do now. My name’s Fred!”
  • Reading will get you very far: “I read everything. History, geography, economics. I’ve read a great deal about the history of Port Macquarie. People in town who have been here all their lives say, ‘Fred you know more about the town than I do!’ but it’s important to be informed, to have that knowledge. It keeps you alive and wide awake.”

The Aspire4Life team is available in many regions across Australia for support. Find out more here.