Monday 12th January 2009 and prestonblog set off towards Preston’s Guild Hall for the first experience of giving blood. After registering at a doctor’s in November 2008 and deciding it was time to stop hoarding the red stuff all to myself, I decided to go and give blood to those who need it.
I’d pre-booked an appointment (if you plan on giving blood, make sure you make use of this handy service!) and having pre-filled in my potentially very embarrasing questionnaire (they ask you some very personal questions) I was called through.
I was a little nervous and not really sure what to expect. I was asked to repeat my name and address and then a small needle stuck into my thumb to test for iron defeciency. My blood sank to the bottom, I was clear on that front. I was then asked my name and address by another nice lady, and she signed my form. I was cleared for blood letting.
After a short wait I was led to one of the stretchers and told to sit down. They explained what was going to happen and I lay back and before I knew it there was a needle in my arm. Usually blood donation takes anywhere from five to 15 minutes but as I was informed “Sir, you have large fast flowing veins” – I was done in four minutes. Three quarters of red stuff gone from my body. I sat up and felt a bit dizzy, then the sick feeling swept my body. I had to stay down for a bit, but after five minutes or so I was ready to stand.
That was it. I’d helped save a life. It felt good as I had some orange squash, two bags of crisps and numerous biscuits. I got chatting to a guy next to me, Mohammed who works at Royal Mail in Fulwood. He had just completed his 25th donation. He shrugged when I said that was quite an achievement. The staff said he needed to collect his silver badge, he shrugged again. To him it didn’t matter if it was his 25th time or 250th time, he was doing something good and worthwhile – he didn’t need a silver badge to prove it.
So, if you’re looking for a new years resolution then why not give blood? It doesn’t hurt and isn’t scary, and it makes a real difference to people’s lives. Amazingly only 5 per cent of those who can give blood, do. That’s shocking.
The only problem with the experience was the venue it was held in, the Avenham Suite at the Guild Hall. It was far too small considering the number of people turning up, it was very warm and stuffy and really somewhere bigger needs to be used.