I have donated blood around 14 times. I started when I was 17 and I try to go as often as I can. I am a very strong believer that everyone who can, should donate. When I ask people why they don’t, fear of needles tends to come up a lot. This shouldn’t deter anyone and is not a deal breaker. I was terrified at first and cried a lot, but the staff are all amazing and so supportive. Now, I still don’t like it, but I am getting better!
I’m usually in the donor centre for an hour all in all, and the actual donation is 5 – 10 minutes. I think around 3 or 4 minutes is my personal best though. You drink a load of water before you donate now and that stops you feeling sick afterwards. You get a sticker (oh yes) saying “Be nice to me, I gave blood today” which can be used to guilt people into giving you lifts or buying you a pint or two. There is also the lovely big plaster on the inside of your arm that can be either hidden easily or flaunted as a badge of honour.
After donating and laying on the bed for a bit, you then get a selection of refreshments, free of course. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, squash, water, crisps, biscuits, chocolate… it’s all there. You can sit at the table and look smugly at one another while you all enjoy your tea and custard creams.
If you or someone you loved needed blood, chances are you’d take it. Why not give some first?