Article written by member, Simone Cooper & also availalbe on her blog site.
Did you know that with just one lot of your donated blood, you can save three people’s lives?
I always wanted to give blood but was scared because I get queasy at the sight of blood, but if it hadn’t been for the generous donation of blood donors my aunty who had cancer of the blood would have died much earlier than she did, and my sister may not have survived the birth of her third child.
I grew up with a blood donor in my family. My mum would regularly give blood while myself and my three siblings were growing up. I remember every afternoon before we got back from school, she would set up on the kitchen counter what she called ‘our surprises’, which were afternoon tea goodies. All of us loved coming home after school to see what mum would put out for us each day.
On the day she gave blood, we would come home and ‘our surprises’ consisted of treats the Blood Bank give you after giving blood. There were always some little Blood Bank stickers for kids that mum gave to us. She always asked for 4 of everything saying she had 4 little ones who would be blood donors when they grow up.
And this would have been true too, unfortunately when my older brother donated for the first time, he had a really strange turn and they said unfortunately he wouldn’t be able to donate again. And my other brother had a mini stroke when he was in his early twenties and so he’s been unable to donate , although I’ve encouraged him to contact them and see if this would still be the case. He wants to donate as well, so hopefully he’ll be able to. My sister gives blood, and my dad (who like me is queasy at the sight of blood), has said he’s going to try to give blood when mum and I go next. All of our family are blood type A negative, which is quite rare―only about 5% of the population have this blood type, so our blood donations are particularly important. But they need all types of blood, even the most common types of A and O positive.
So, I finally worked up the courage to give blood back in 2008. Of course I was nervous the first time, but I made sure I drank 3 big glasses of water, 3 glasses of orange juice and had a big breakfast during the three hours before giving blood, and I also ensured I drank plenty of water the day before as well, which is what they recommend.
You fill out a couple of forms, have an interview with one of the nurses, and then they take you into the blood donor centre. I asked them to lie the bed as flat as possible, and after they put the needle in, it only took about ten minutes for me to donate 500mls of my blood. Sure it seems like a lot, but if you prepare yourself like I did, then I am sure you will be fine. Afterwards I felt really good. I didn’t feel sick or light-headed, or that I’d just donated half a litre of blood. After you give blood they give you something to eat and drink. They really look after you, because after all you are doing something very special.
Unfortunately Australia doesn’t have enough blood donors, and the Blood Bank has to purchase blood from the US. If people just tried it for the first time, they would realise that it’s not as daunting or scary as they might think.
• Currently 1 in 3 Australians need blood, yet only 1 in 30 donates.
• Modern processing techniques mean that a single blood donation, when separated into its components, can help 3 different patients. See picture below re how your blood is used.
• The Blood Bank NSW needs around 27,000 donations every week to meet the demands of Australian patients.
Who can give blood?
ME! ME! ME!
Most people are able to give blood if they:
• Are fit, healthy and not suffering from a cold, flu or other illness at the time of donation or in the previous 7 days
• Are aged between 16-70 years (in QLD and WA 16-17 year olds require parental consent)
• Weigh more than 45kg
• Drink up in the 24 hours before donation, especially in warm weather and have at least 3 good-sized glasses of water/juice in the 3 hours before donating.
• Eat something in the 3 hours before donating
• Bring at least one form of photo identification ID.
So roll up your sleeves and donate life-saving blood and give three people the chance to live a healthy and happy life!
For more information on donating life-saving blood, please visit www.donateblood.com.au
* These two sections taken from www.donateblood.com.au
Images courtesy of Australian Red Cross Blood Service
Article posted on behalf of member, Simone Cooper.