A few weeks ago I joined another 150 or so Northumbrians in lying down in Domain, one of the easiest ways to help save or improve someone else’s life, we were all giving blood at one of the many donor sessions held across the term. All together on that icy afternoon we will have donated over 70 liters of blood enough to replace all the blood in the bodies of fourteen people.
Giving blood is relatively straightforward and painless; you’re given a basic health check to make sure you’re ok to donate, and away you go, lying on one of the beds a needle is placed in the arm of your choice and it’s time to relax; listen to music, read a book or go on Facebook, you wouldn’t think you were helping save up to three lives. Donations can take a little over ten minutes but are usually over in three or four, if at any point you have problems (not that it’s likely) help is on hand. Once you’re done you have a little rest before getting your reward – Tea and biscuits!
Whilst you’re enjoying a cuppa, your donation will be packaged, tested and sent on to patients- who might have been involved in accidents, having surgery or cancer treatment, or to treat long term medical conditions such as hemophilia. Whilst you’re donation might drastically effect someone else’s life: the effect on you will be hardly noticeable, you might want to take it easy for the rest of the day, but your body is quick at work to replace the donation, which will usually take week or two.
Being a regular donor is even better, men can give blood every 12 weeks and women every 16, donating regularly helps the NHS maintain a regular supply of all blood groups, all blood is in demand but some groups are rarer than others, less than 1% of the population are AB-, blood supplies fall particularly low in the middle of summer and winter (the times when blood is also in highest demand!), but donating at any time is a brilliant thing to do.
There’s been a 50% decrease in the number of young people registering to donate in the last year, which is especially concerning as most first time donors are in this group, turn back the trend and register at blood.co.uk or call up the NHS Helpline on 0300 123 23 23. To borrow the NHS slogan “Do something amazing, give blood.”