— Candi Hindocha contributed to this report
Lives are saved across the country every day thanks to blood transfusions, and one day it could be you who needs treatment – but are you one of the 4% of the population who have bothered to donate blood?
Each day, 7,000 units of blood are required to meet the demands of hospitals, with Lincolnshire hospitals using an average of 870 units of blood every week.
Blood supplies run low after holiday periods and Easter is no exception, which means, says the National Blood Service (NBS), that now is an even more important time to start donating.
“There is usually a dip in the number of donors coming forward during holidays as people are busy, meaning donors can miss appointments. So it really is essential donors make the extra effort to give not only during holidays but before and after as well,” a spokesperson for the NBS says.
“It is vital people come forward to give blood. Every single unit of blood needed comes from a volunteer donor so blood donors are literally lifesavers.”
Twenty-year-old Hannah Dodd has been a blood donor for three years after wanting to do her bit:
“As soon as I turned seventeen I rang up the National Blood Service and signed up. Then I booked an appointment online for the next local blood drive. I was quite nervous but once you get there it’s fine,” she says.
Dodd advises students to just “do it” and save a life.
“It can be scary if you don’t know what to expect but I’ve told friends they can come with me to see what it’s like then decide. People who don’t give blood will willingly take it if they have an accident or need an operation or transfusion; where do they think it comes from?”
The process of giving blood is very simple and takes around an hour, from walking in to walking out. The NBS says that out of that hour, only ten to fifteen minutes is spent on the bed, giving blood:
“The rest of the time is spent making sure you that are able to donate, for example the blood we take is safe to give to someone else, and giving you time to recover before you leave. Of course this wouldn’t be complete without the famous tea and biscuits.”
Dodd says that although there may be a couple of physical side effects after donating, the tea and biscuits are a nice treat: “Your arm can ache quite a bit and, although I’ve never experienced it, you can feel faint or sick, but you get tea and biscuits after which is a nice bonus.
“Mentally, I feel good that I could have potentially saved a life.”
Sam Thompson, a twenty-year-old University of Lincoln student, gave blood for the first time in September last year after being persuaded by a friend and the television advertisements.
She felt she had accomplished something after donating for the first time.
“I felt a sense of pride knowing that what I had given will hopefully dramatically improve the life of someone else. For those who aren’t sure about donating, they have to look at the context of the situation.
“It only takes up 15 minutes of your time and you are dramatically improving the lives of other people. People shouldn’t really be concerned about it; they are helping other people who are likely in a worse off situation than themselves,” she says.
The NBS says that although they appreciate the support of the University of Lincoln staff and students over the years, more donors are always needed:
“We really need people to come forward, especially new donors, to make the next Engine Shed session on Wednesday, 21 April a success. Please spare an hour to help save a life.”
Anyone aged between 17-65, weighing more than 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and in general good health could start saving lives by becoming a blood donor. Call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk to book an appointment, find out more or get details of other blood donor sessions.Tweet