By Roger Wood
I started donating blood when I was 18 years old and have given 80 pints to date.
My first session wasn’t my idea. I got dragged along by a friend and I didn’t really understand the importance of what I was doing until a few donations later.
Some people start giving blood as a response to a friend or family member needing a transfusion of blood in an emergency but why put off when your donation can help someone else?
The first time you donate you don’t know quite what to expect but the staff soon put you at ease. Try going in a group for support or just call in to a session to see how it works so you will know what to expect on your first appointment.
Things have moved on a lot since the 80’s Then it was more like a field hospital with wobbly camp beds. You now get reclining seats and every time I go they seem to have thought of something new to make the session more comfortable.
Most people can give blood. You can give blood if you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs or 50kg, are aged between 17 and 66 or over 70 if you have given blood in the last two years. Men can give blood every three months and women can give blood every four months.
Donating blood is simple and painless. It takes about 45 minutes from beginning to end with the actual donation only taking about 5 minutes. Just 45 minutes every few months is a very small inconvenience for providing lifesaving blood for others.
Giving blood saves lives. Over 6,000 blood donations are needed every day to treat patients in need across England and each year approximately 200,000 new donors are needed, to replace donors who can no longer give blood. Around half of the current donors are over 45 which is why more young people are needed (over the age of 17) to start giving blood, to make sure we have enough blood in the future.
The blood you give is a lifeline in an emergency and for people who need long-term treatments. Many people would not be alive today if donors had not given their blood. That is why I give blood.
More recently I have been volunteering for Northumbria Blood Bikes who are a charitable organisation established by local volunteers to deliver essential blood and urgent medical supplies, out of hours, between hospitals and healthcare sites and laboratories in North East England. These services are critical to saving lives and are always looking for support. You can find out more about the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes and how you can support them here.
Find your nearest donation venue here