Thinking about donating blood isn’t exactly relaxation-inducing. Any task that involves needles and watching your own blood take a journey outside your body instantly sends a tiny shudder down my back.
However, after diving deeper into what the experience of donating blood is actually like, as well as the wide-reaching impact of the gesture, my cartoon-like image of what a donor will encounter was proven to be extremely wrong.
According to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, only 3% of Aussies are currently donating blood, yet one in three of us will need some sort of blood or blood product during our lifetime. Now, those are some pretty disproportionate statistics – blood is an essential resource needed every single day, reliant on the efforts of those who are willing to step up and make a life-saving move.
We know “life-saving” sounds like ~a lot~, however, I can guarantee you there aren’t too many scenarios of that gravity that involve sitting down for 10 minutes and being treated with a deluxe choccy muffin afterwards. Yep, donating blood is that easy.
As Australia is in need of up to 29,000 donations a week, a few PTV staffers went out to donate blood during their lunch break.
Whilst everyone had their own personal thoughts and feelings towards blood donation, the consensus all seemed to point to a few things – knowing that you’ve helped someone in need feels great, and most pain and discomfort is over before you know it.
Here’s what they had to say.
I’ve wanted to donate for years and even attempted it once during high school but couldn’t go through with it (I’d had glandular fever recently before going in).
I definitely put it off from then on because I was nervous about the needle and thought it was this whole massive process that would just be a pain.
I was certainly wrong on all counts. The sign-in and interview process took about 5-10 mins all up. I was in the chair for 10 mins donating, and got to hang out with a free muffin and juice box for 20 mins after that, all within a work break. The nurses are so accommodating and lovely and in terms of pain, it was just the usual pinch. I’ve already booked in to donate plasma!
All of my immediate family members have needed blood transfusions, so this is something close to my heart. I’ve wanted to donate blood for years. Five years to be precise, but because of my own health issues, I was not able to before now. I can’t say I’m someone who is comfortable getting my blood taken, but I was really excited to be able to do this finally.
The visit to the donation centre was so straightforward, and I felt reassured at all times. After filling out the forms and having my assessment I was in the chair with the donation starting.
As I mentioned, I’m not the best with blood so I did faint. The nurses were so reassuring and helpful and it wasn’t a big deal at all. I’ll definitely do it again!
Doing my part was easy! It shouldn’t just be on your radar if you need to give blood for family or friends. When someone you love does need it, you realise how impactful your donation actually is.
The process itself is quite educational and it’s quicker than you think. When you realise that so many people do it, it’s something you can actually do in your spare time or lunch break.
I donate blood because it makes me feel good that I can help out others, even if I don’t have a ton of time or money to donate.
In a way as well, it’s also a bit of time I keep for myself as you can’t do that much while you sit in the chair. Giving blood has always been a positive experience for me.
All the staff are lovely, the process is smooth and I’m a big fan of snacks, so getting that cookie afterwards is always nice.
My experience of giving blood was bittersweet – it was as easy as I had remembered it, and the staff just as accommodating, but it also made me realise it had been 8 years since my last time.
Given how easy it is to book in a haircut once a month or see a mate, it made me realise how easy it could be to do something small yet meaningful around my normal life.