We all know the importance of donating, but why is it that blood centres are constantly requesting that more people donate? I don’t know about you but having a needle stuck in my arm to extract blood was not the most attractive motivator for me to dedicate my spare time to. Plus I always manage to find a tonne of excuses to push donating down the priority list, i.e. I don’t have the time, it could be painful, I don’t know where to go, the list goes on.

I always knew I would donate one day, but my endless list of excuses kept this task at bay, constantly on my ‘to do’ list.’ My excuses even managed to out-weigh the drive I should’ve had for donating after I created a mock blood donating campaign for part of my marketing degree. I remember spending hours on it, thinking of all these ways to try and convince people, especially young adults, to give blood. With all that time spent working on that assignment, you would think my own hesitations would have subsided, convincing me to give blood, but regretfully, it did not

The day I finally made it into the centre, I was joined by the team at Ambleside. My work colleagues had asked me if I wanted to make a group donation along with them, and without hesitation I said yes! I had people to go with, making me feel at ease, knowing if they could take the needle, then surely so could I, it couldn’t be too scary!

I do remember feeling slightly nervous sitting in the chair awaiting the needle, although I felt slightly better seeing my workmates sitting in their chairs, not squirming in pain. As a bonus, the volunteers were lovely and by the time I had discussed with them how many lives my donation was saving, the needle had been removed and I was treated to a biscuit and a drink for my efforts. When I got home, I felt a sense of pride knowing that by taking less than one hour out of my day, I managed to help save up to 3 lives – without lifting a finger.

Now a blood donating regular, I recently decided to donate plasma for the first time. It was a longer process, taking about 45 minutes, but my plasma donation can create 18 life-saving treatments! For me that feeling is far more satisfying than sitting around on a Friday night, scoffing pizza in front of the television.

So what I am trying to say is, don’t be like me and wait for someone else to organise the appointment for you. Give the blood centre a call and enquire about donating today. If you are able to, do it! If not, that’s okay, you could always go and support a friend or family member donating and help to spread the word!

For more information on how you can donate, or where your nearest blood centre is, jump onto their website.

By Nicole O’Sullivan

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