What’s a girl to do once she has just potentially saved three lives? Drink tea and eat chocolate biscuits, of course.
Sitting at the refreshments table, after giving blood for the first time, I was annoyed with myself for not doing it sooner. I went to my appointment convinced that giving blood would be painful, unhealthy and that I was going to feel awful afterwards.
But this couldn’t have been further from the truth.
One thing that is true is that the demand for blood is much higher than the current supply, around 6,000 blood donations are needed every day to treat patients across England. Around half of current donors are over 45 and this was noticeable at my session where I appeared to be one of the youngest, surprising given that most people between the ages of 17-65 are able to give blood.
This is not a post to shame those who don’t donate, I understand that some people are ineligible, and the thought had never even crossed my mind until recently. I had no idea just how much of a difference one pint of my blood could make and I still wouldn’t have, if it wasn’t for my personal reason to begin donating.
My mum is so kind, giving blood is the sort of thing she did. She had been doing it for ages, but when she was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, understandably she had to stop. Now she is in remission she cannot give blood for at least five years, so I am carrying on in her place.
From booking my first session online to the actual giving blood part, I found the entire process easy and the only discomfort, similar to a blood test, was from the needle.
Whilst the transfusion is taking place, you get to relax for around ten minutes. Some people bring a book to read, some listen to music and others (like me) just people watch.
I read advice on the internet beforehand that it can take a few days for your body to replace the blood cells, so some people feel lightheaded afterwards.
This was true for me, however I’m sure you will agree that thirty minutes of feeling faint is nothing if you can provide a lifetime of difference for someone who needs blood.
The way I see it - that someone could be a daughter, a father or even me one day.
Being in my 20s, I know the pressure our generation places on ourselves to feel successful and fulfilled in all aspects of our life.
I think we need to start thinking of our worth in terms of how we can help others rather than the number of likes we receive on social media.
Thursday 14th June is World Blood Donor Day and I would urge anyone, but particularly my peers, to consider giving up half an hour of your time.
By donating blood, you might change three lives or you might just change one. But I guarantee when you are sitting in that chair, drinking your tea at the end of your first session, you would have made a difference.