I first began donating blood when I was 16...as a way to get out of doing school work! Yeah, it was good deed and all, but mostly to have time away from school. As a school group, we'd walk together to the local community centre, where the mobile blood bank was operating. The beds were set out in a big circle, and the nurses would tend to us, one by one. At the end of the donation, we were given a fruit juice, some biscuits, and after a short rest, sent back to school. Not too shabby.
After I left school and entered the workforce, my employer would arrange for the blood service courtesy bus to pick us up and take us to the donor centre every three months, and this continued for many years. Most recently, I have been ineligible to donate due to a raft of reasons...pregnancy, glandular fever, surgery, low iron levels, and a tattoo. Now that the appropriate time has elapsed, and I'm feeling healthy, I'll be heading back to the blood bank this Christmas to make a much needed donation.
My experiences of donating blood have been positive ones. The nurses have always been considerate and caring, and the needle never hurts as much as you think it might. If you're worried about it, turn your head while they put it in...and think of the pain the person you are donating for, might be suffering.
Donating blood only takes around an hour of your time, which includes completing a questionnaire, making your donation, and having a snack and a rest afterwards. The actual taking of the blood only takes about 10 minutes. Considering your donation could help save three lives; an hour of your time is nothing!
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 (16-17 year olds need to weigh more than 50kg)
- are prepared by having plenty of liquid the day before donation, especially in warm weather. In addition, in the 3 hours before donating, please drink at least 3 good-sized glasses of water/juice.
- eat something in the 3 hours before donating
- bring ID. Please bring at least one form of photo identification.
If you're not sure if you qualify...please read these faq's.
The Australian Red Cross needs your help over the Christmas period and beyond. If you are healthy and able; become part of the 1 in 30 Australians that donate blood regularly. You never know when you might need a blood transfusion yourself, and remember...every drop counts!