Blood donation often provides an important lifeline for those who are extremely sick or have long-term illnesses. In Nottingham and elsewhere in the UK, 400 new volunteers are needed each day to keep up with rising demands.
Many people wouldn’t have thought about donating blood. Maybe the prospect seems scary, or there are uncertainties about where the donation will end up. The reality is that your donation could possibly keep someone alive in an emergency, or sustain their quality of life for that little bit longer.
The process of giving blood in Nottingham is simple. Once you pass the preparation process and health screening, it’s then a matter of giving around 470ml (just under a pint) of blood through a needle in your arm.
Jacob Hopgood, 22, had not given blood before but decided to volunteer for blood donation this January.
The Rushcliffe Council worker said: “I didn’t really want to donate blood at first but my sister signed up and I thought why not. I filled out a form and it was really quick and easy.
“I didn’t know what to expect at first but I felt really secure and safe. At the donation centre, I filled out a questionnaire, drank an isotonic drink and then sat in a waiting room before giving the blood.
“They then measured my haemoglobin levels and I donated the blood.”
When asked if he would donate again, Jacob said: “You have to wait three months but yes, I would do it again.
“I’m thinking about donating platelets next time. The process was quick and easy and it only took about 35-40 minutes from getting there to leaving.”
“My blood went to Middlesbrough University Hospital, so I feel good about knowing where it has gone.”
The NHS Blood and Transplant service is urging more young people to volunteer to secure the future of blood donation. About 135,000 new donors are needed every year to replace those who cannot donate anymore, so recruiting donors in this age group is extremely important.
Students in Nottingham are among those being encouraged to sign up and give blood this winter.
Lois Warner, 21, graduated from Nottingham Trent University last year and has recently made her 10th blood donation. She said: “I decided to donate blood as I just saw it as a super-easy way to help the NHS and people who need it. My sister is a nurse so I can see how valuable it is, but also my parents have always done it so my first ever one was with them and then I’ve just carried it on ever since.
“I find the process so rewarding, the whole thing is super easy, the staff are always so friendly and grateful. You also get free biscuits afterwards which make it even better. My favourite part is you often get a text several weeks after your donation telling you where your donation goes which I think is really good as it makes the process even more rewarding and shows you are making a real difference.
“Whenever I leave the donation centre I just straight away book into the next available slot within the correct time frame to donate again, therefore I always have one upcoming and ready!
“I’ve just managed to get to 10 donations over time and will continue to donate, however often as I can. I really urge everyone who can donate to sign up, and often post things on social media to promote this as I just think it’s so so important and the NHS will always need the donations to help people who are in need and less fortunate than us.”
Feature image credit: Jessica Goddard