I've always felt that being on this planet that I should give something back to others - whether it's cleaning the environment, helping the elderly cross the road or even volunteering a few hours in your local charity shop. Which is all well and good, and I desperately wish I had more time on my hands to do all of these things everyday where possible. But I feel something as simple as donating blood and possibly saving another persons life is quite admirable.
My blood donating experience has only been fairly short, I've only been able to donate 3 times since turning the age of 17 (I'll get into all of that in a bit!) I never thought of donating blood, I didn't think there was such a demand for it day in, day out so it never really occurred to me at the age of 16 to actually go out and do it. After scrolling through Instagram and Facebook for around 5 hours, I stumbled across the NHS advert saying "why wait to donate?" and a little buffer image. I thought nothing of it, tapped it away and it was gone. But then the same advert kept showing again and again - and I think after it appearing 30 times, I think that was a clear sign that I had to do something!
I don't have a fear of needles (thanks to travelling to Africa, needles won't become a problem after vaccines!) so it was a no brainer to donate. I feel proud every time that I do it, changing someones life for the better and I'm always eager to donate again!
First time of donating you will be a bit sceptical on what's about to happen, theres 20 hospital type chairs in front of you, nurses running around and some people with a hint of fear in their face (well, that was only one woman who looks absolutely petrified whilst it was happening!) Anyways, after signing up online or through post you'll get mailed back to you a questionnaire which you fill in beforehand to take with you on the day of donation. After handing that in, the nice nurse at the front will tell you to go wait and drink water (definitely recommend that you stay hydrated 2 days before donating!) until it's your turn.
Your name will eventually get called, depending on the amount of patients there, and you'll be taken into a little tent and have all these little tests/questions before you donate. The test for diabetes is a lot more painful that donating blood itself! A little prick to the finger is probably the worst bit - doesn't sound bad at all does it?
And once you've done all that, you're ready to donate. If you don't look, you don't feel a thing! The time it takes for your blood to get to the right amount (I believe its a pint) depends on who you are - mine takes about 5-6 minutes (I aim to get a PB next time!) After donating you will get plastered up and taken to a refreshment table. Make the most of this bit - you can have as many Penguins as you like!!
After your first donation you will also find out your blood group as they will send another letter and a donor card for your purse/wallet. I'm A-!
See you in the next blog post,