What is it like to give blood?

Tom giving blood yesterday at STFSC
Tom giving blood yesterday at STFSC

UCLan held its first blood drive in five years. We sent Tom Greggan to find out if it was worth the wait…

I’d always had the intention of giving blood, having been signed up to the donor register for over a year. But something always got in the way. So when I found out the university was holding a donation session, I really had no excuse but to go and do my bit.

It was a lot better, easier and painless than I was expecting.

Upon arrival to the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre (STFSC) I was greeted by friendly staff who guided me to where I needed to be.

The NHS members of staff who ran the session were absolutely brilliant. They couldn’t have been more helpful. I got there around 12.30, having not eaten lunch. As it was my first time, I was recommended to return an hour later with a fuller stomach, to reduce my chances of passing out.

Of course, I did just that and at 1.30 I was sat in front of a nurse who was talking me step-by-step through the whole process. All I had to do was fill in a small form, to make sure I was a suitable candidate for donation and I was good to go.

As I sat and waited (with a complimentary drink and biscuit) for my name to be called, the nerves started to kick in. ‘Please don’t pass out, please don’t pass out’ was all I could think. The multitude of information leaflets I was given did make me feel a little better though.

When another nurse came to test a thimble of my blood (before I gave away a bagful) I think she could tell it was my first time and she my many questions in detail. That, along with the relaxed expressions of the people already hooked up the machines around me, calmed me down some more.

88 people gave blood, including UCLan Vice Chancellor Gerry Kelleher
88 people gave blood including UCLan Vice Chancellor Gerry Kelleher

This was a good thing, because in no time at all, the nurse was looking for a vein. Luckily, it didn’t take long and after a tiny pinch, the bag began to fill up.

As I sat there the nurse explained everything that was going on; how the machine works, where the blood goes at the end of the day, what happens to it etc.

Apparently it took about seven minutes for the machine to beep and let me know I was done. It felt like three. I was a bit disappointed actually; the chair I was now lay down in was so comfy!

I’d expected to feel faint or queasy by this point but I didn’t feel any different than I had before. The dressing was applied, I got another free biscuit, and that was me done!

I couldn’t believe I’d been nervous at all! I even booked my next appointment, for when the blood drive returns to UCLan on February 2, before I left.

I also chatted to Naomi McLellan-Edwards, who campaigned for the blood drive last year. She was inspired to do so after blood transfusions saved her mother’s life and thanks to her, blood donation won the Big Vote by a landslide.

Hearing Naomi’s story made the experience all the more rewarding and I’d recommend it to anyone who is able to donate. It’s quick, painless and it’ll make you feel great.

Did you donate? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us @UCLanPluto

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