Today I want to talk about something which doesn’t fit into the ‘usual’ content style of my blog, but is something which I am incredibly passionate about.
The first time I stepped inside a blood bank I was 14 years old. Tagging along with a family friend while she ran her errands for the day, I was immediately interested by the concept of donating blood.
When I turned 16, I remember being more excited to be at an age where I was allowed to donate than to get my learner’s permit. Since then, I have regularly let people suck my blood out of me in exchange for snacks and time spent in comfy chairs. I started by donating whole blood, then when I turned 20 began to donate blood plasma.
Australians need blood and blood products for many reasons. Car accidents, chronic illness and surgery, to name a few. Over the course of their lifespan, 1 in 3 Australians will require a blood transfusion, yet currently only 1 in 30 Australians regularly donate. People seem to be put off for many reasons, whether it’s a fear of needles, they think they’re too busy, or they just genuinely don’t like the idea of it.
I want to try and encourage people to try it, just once. Fear of needles? The nurses are all incredibly kind and caring, and will ensure that you feel 10000% comfortable while donating. Don’t have time? Yes you do. Take an hour out of your day (that’s all the whole thing takes!), sit in a chair for ten minutes then be rewarded with the knowledge that you’ve just saved three lives and got a chocolate milk and some pretzels out of it. Weirded out by it? Why? I bet you’d be pretty annoyed if you needed blood but there wasn’t any because everyone was too ‘weirded out’ to donate. Look at things from another perspective: this one hour and (unlikely) mild discomfort will save lives. It will literally go toward enriching someone’s life, to ensuring a family can spend more time together, or to making someone who’s ill’s life that little bit easier.
Yesterday, I sat in the chair for the 20th time and donated 903grams of plasma. Plasma is somewhat different to whole blood, can be used to make 18 different treatments and can be donated more regularly, as your red blood cells are returned to your body during donation. I currently donate each fortnight, which is the minimum time allowed between donations. Donating fortnightly is my priority, my schedule works around that.
I am writing this post for no reason other than to encourage some of my readers to consider donating blood. I’m not trying to just tell the world about my blood donations (although to be honest – I’ve saved 60 lives so far and if that’s not something to be proud of then I’m not entirely sure what is). If this leads to even one person booking in an appointment, then I will have succeeded.
I donate blood because I can. I am physically healthy and able, fit into the relevant age group and am lacking any of the criteria which excludes me from being able. So why wouldn’t I? It’s quick and easy, you know it’s actually going toward helping people, AND it’s much cheaper than donating to charity 😉
These holidays when you’re sitting around with nothing to do, book yourself an appointment and save some lives. Even if you try it once and hate it, you saved three people so go, you good thing. More information and easy appointment-making (for Australia) can be found at http://www.donateblood.com.au, or search for your local blood bank online.
I am in no way affiliated with the Red Cross. All thoughts and opinions are my own and in no way represent the views of Red Cross Australia or Red Cross Blood Service.