Young Blood

Do a bloody good deed. Donate blood today.


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Facing your fears: Emily’s Story

There are so many reasons why people do not donate blood.

Perhaps they are ineligible. Maybe they believe they don’t have the time. Some are afraid and skeptical, while even more are unaware of the need for blood or the way to get involved and give. Guest blogger Emily Gordon, a 20-year-old student from Wollongong shares her story on how she got involved and reminds us that if at first you don’t succeed, don’t be disheartened. Try again- your willingness to make a difference is wonderful in itself.

Emily Gordon is a testament to the fact that if at first you don't succeed, try again.

Emily Gordon is a testament to the fact that if at first you don’t succeed, try again.

As I am studying a health degree, I am well aware of the importance of donating blood and how it can be literally lifesaving to person in need. I have always seen all the different ads on T.V. about donating blood and have always perceived it as such a worthwhile and real thing to do for the many people in need.

The real challenge for myself, when it comes to donating blood, is that I actually have a massive phobia of needles. Nonetheless, I was encouraged by my boyfriend to try and face my fear- we shouldn’t be afraid of saving lives! He came up with the idea that we would go and both donate together as he is a regular blood donor himself. At first I was hesitant, but then the idea grew on me and I psyched myself up to go, face my fear and do a good deed.

Upon arrival at the Blood Bank, I instantly felt at ease as the lady at the reception desk was so helpful with filling out all the forms and guiding me through the process. She went out of her way to ensure I was settled and was adequately hydrated. Unfortunately, however, anxiety got the better of me and the staff member that conducted my interview advised me that I should not go through with the donation. It was so reassuring to know that, although I went with every intention of giving blood, I was not pressured into it and all the staff went out of their way to ensure my wellbeing was the highest priority.

“It was so reassuring to know that, although I went with every intention of giving blood, I was not pressured into it and my wellbeing was the highest priority.”

I still  hope in the near future I’ll be able to donate blood and I do believe I have gotten one step closer to conquering my fear and helping others in this way.

I believe this campaign is fantastic in that it’s encouraging younger people to step up at take the initiative to give blood and I urge you all to try and give it a go! Donating money to a charity is all well and good, but donating something so real, straight from yourself, such as blood in my mind seems so much more useful – especially as you know it is going directly to the person in need, not getting caught up in the system and paying someones wage. I guess, in a way, blood could be described as liquid gold, it’s so valuable when you consider the real difference it makes to thousands of sick people globally.

To start donating blood and helping others, give the Australian Red Cross Blood Service a call on 13 14 95 or simply visit https://www.donateblood.com.au/ready-to-donate/make-appointment.


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How does donated blood get used?

How donated blood is used

Image source: Australian Red Cross Blood Servcie

There are three main components that make up our blood- red blood cells,  plasma and platelets. Often, these components are separated to provide the most appropriate treatment to the one in every three Australians who require blood, or blood products, in their lifetime. We checked out the information available at The Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS, 2013) and the Better Health Channel (2013) to bring you our run-through of what you’re donating and how it is used:

Red Blood Cells

These are the cells that carry oxygen through your blood and, at 42 days, have the longest shelf life of all the components. Most blood recipients receive these in order to boost the oxygen-carrying abilities of their blood. The majority of donated blood goes to people with cancer, those who are undergoing surgery, as well as those who have been suffered a severe accident and/or burns.

Plasma

Plasma is the liquid component of blood that holds the cells in suspension. It makes up about 55 per cent and contains important proteins, nutrients and clotting factors which are integral to preventing and stopping bleeding. ARCBS recognises it as “the most versatile component of your blood [as] donated plasma makes up to 17 life-saving products that help patients with trauma, burns and blood diseases.” Plasma can be stored for up to one year after the day of donation.

Platelets

Platelets are essential for ensuring the blood can clot in patients with a low platelet count or non-functioning platelets. They can be stored for up to five says and the ARCBS says that this usually aids those who are bleeding, or are at a high risk of bleeding, as a result of high dose chemotherapy, bone marrow transplantation, major surgery, liver disease or severe trauma and haemorrhaging. Platelets also contribute to the repair of damaged body tissue.

Of course, all these components have an expiry date, so to speak, and continuous donations are needed to ensure a constant supply of blood and blood products. If you are an eligible donor, please consider donating today. Check out http://www.donateblood.com.au for more information and to book an appointment.


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How to save a life while sitting down

Donating blood is a surprisingly simple process, but makes a huge difference to the lives of others. The entire process,  from registration to donation, will take about an hour- short and sweet!. These are our steps to guide you through your generous decision to donate:

Eligibility and Registration

1. For various reasons, not all Australians are eligible to donate blood. If you’re a first time donor, take this quick and easy eligibility quiz from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS). ARCBS says that you’re usually the type to donate if you:

  • are fit, healthy and haven’t been sick in the last 7 days.
  • are aged between 16-70 years (in QLD and WA 16-17 year olds require parental consent)
  • weigh more than 45kg
  • drink up in the 24 hours before donation and have at least 3 good-sized glasses of water/juice in the 3 hours before donating.
  • eat something in the 3 hours before donating
  • bring at least one form of photo identification ID.

2. Find a donor centre, book an appointment and  register. This involves filling in your personal information including name, address, phone number and other related details.

Arrival

1. You will be asked to complete a donor questionnaire, which asks you questions regarding your general health. The questionnaire is completely confidential and specifically designed to protect you and the recipient of your donation.

Interview and Physical

1. Each time you donate, you will be interviewed privately and confidentially by a staff member about your health and travel history.

2. You will be given a health check which includes taking your temperature, checking your haemoglobin level and your blood pressure and pulse.

Donating Blood

1. After a quick pinch, you will be able to relax while the bag is filling. This only takes about 5-10 minutes for a 470mL whole blood donation (If you are donating platelets, red cells or plasma, collection by apheresis can take up to 2 hours.)

Refreshments

1. After your donation is complete, you will be able to kick back and relax for a few minutes with a yummy bite to eat and drink.

2. It only takes your body about 10-15 minutes to adjust to the slight decrease in fluid volume and then you’re good to go!

Afterwards

1. Feel like an absolute champion, knowing that you have helped to save the lives of up to three people with your donation!

2. Within 24-48 hours of donating, your blood volume is completely restored. Continue to drink plenty of water and say no to that house party- no alcohol for at least 8 hours and no smoking for 2 hours after your donation.

3. A healthy whole blood donor can donate every 12 weeks, and plasma and platelet donors can donate every 2-3 weeks, so start planning your next visit!