If, like me, you have never given blood before, LISTEN UP! I am starting now and am about to tell you why you should do it too. On the 11th Feburary, between 12.30-7pm, the Blood Bank will be coming to Highfield Campus to collect blood donations from the students and staff of the University of Southampton. They return again on the 13th May and have numerous other donation dates at Highfield Church Centre throughout semester 2.
Last year, 96% of blood transfusions used the blood from 4% of the population who give two or three times a year. This needs to change drastically in order to keep up with demand, for example the NHS Blood and Transplant service has recently released an urgent appeal for O Rh negative (O Rh- ), the universal blood group, to meet needs. The NHSBT service wants to recruit 100,000 new donors in the next 100 days to protect future blood stocks as the need is more urgent following a dramatic decline in the number of younger donors signing up.
I used to think it was a really complicated process, and that I would spend hours crying, blabbing and calling my Mum. However, after a little bit of research it’s not like that at all, you in fact simply sign up online and get a time, turn up, sign some forms and have some delightful bottled water. You’ll then be asked a few questions just to double check that you are eligible for giving blood and have a ‘finger prick’ just to check you are not anaemic.
Providing this all goes ok, BAM! You chill out on a nice bed for 5-10 minutes whilst they take some of the red stuff from your arm and hey presto! You get a
dinosaur plaster, a cup of tea and a biscuit (we all know students will do anything for a free hot drink and food, hardly too much to ask) and then leave to get on with the rest of your day as normal.
By registering at blood.co.uk you can find a slot where your donated blood that could go on to save up to three people’s lives. The blood could be used for transfusions for women who experience complications during pregnancy, children with anaemia, people who have experienced severe trauma and cancer patients. There’s loads of other things that you can look into as well if you want to do some good.
One example is platelet donation which is given to patients who are unable to make enough platelets in their bone marrow such as those with leukaemia or other cancers. The process is very similar to blood donation but done on a slightly larger scale. During the procedure, blood is withdrawn, mixed to prevent clotting and processed by spinning to separate the platelets, the rest of the blood is returned to you. After approximately an hour and a half, you can once again, continue with your every day activities.
So, I’m giving blood because its generally a nice thing to do, something I pledged to devote more time to as a New Year’s Resolution. There are plenty of people out there who need our help, and I never know when I might become one of those people! It takes 20 minutes for my supersonic body to recreate the blood I have donated and it takes less than half an hour out of my day (doing a Social Science degree, it’s hardly an issue fitting it in).
If everyone who read the Soton Tab today donated blood then 12,000 people’s lives could potentially be saved. Pretty phenomenal for a group of people that are just regular university students. Get over to www.blood.co.uk to check that you are eligible and book a slot for this coming semester.