Did you know that just one blood donation can be used to save up to 3 lives? Being the kind-hearted, selfless soul that I am I decided that I would sign up to give blood.
So back last Thursday, I signed up online as a blood donor on the NHS Blood Service website. It was a nice and easy setup, and you can find all of the information you need about giving blood, and there’s tools that you can use to determine whether or not you are able to give blood. You can also book yourself an appointment to ensure that you are guaranteed to be seen when you turn up at the location.
Luckily for me I was able to take the last available appointment, and went along to give blood for the very first time today!
I walked into the centre, explained to the lady at the entrance that this was my first time coming to donate, so she took me aside, where I had to fill out a questionnaire based upon things like my health, history and other aspects like if I’ve travelled abroad. Next I was given 2 leaflets containing some important information about donating blood and the process, and was asked to drink 500ml of water prior to a screening.
The screening takes place in a private booth. I was asked to talk through some of the aspects of my questionnaire responses. They enquired about me having jaundice as a baby and what treatments I had. They also asked me stuff like what I had to eat and drink throughout the day. She expressed concern that I wasn’t hydrated enough, so had given me another 500ml of water to drink before donating. In the final part of the screening, she pricked my finger to take some blood to test my iron levels. She explains that my iron levels are fine and then takes me to an area to wait for me to go to a donation chair.
After I had drank my water, I was called to be seated to donate. She asked me to remove my jumper to allow her to access my arm. Using a cuff, she then searched for a vein. Unfortunately for me, this is where it has to end; as they could not find a vein big enough to sustain blood flow once they had inserted the needle. She explains that I will have to wait around 5 years before returning again, and thanks me for going to attempt to donate.
However, if you aren’t already donating blood it is something everyone over the age of 17 should definitely consider! The NHS needs 200,000 blood donors every year to ensure that there is enough blood available for the future, particularly from younger donors.
It’s something that costs nothing from our pockets, but is absolutely priceless. Your blood could just save a life.
The website is blood.co.uk, and all of the information about signing up is found there. Alternatively you can call the NHS Blood Service Helpline on 0300 123 23 23.
Hopefully next time I am able to donate!