AFTER issuing a rallying call to people in last week's paper to donate blood to meet the increased demand ahead of the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Games celebrations this summer, The Standard sent a trio of staff down to the White Hart Inn in Redditch on Monday (May 21) to give blood. Rookie reporter and first time donor Carl Jackson gives his account.
As a trainee reporter, you expect to be a guinea pig. It is a right of passage. So after calling for Bromsgrove's 2,830 active donors to give blood again, I thought it was time to roll up my sleeves and give myself.
I'm not needle-phobic but I'm not overly fond of them either. What was more concerning to me was the after effects of having one of my vital eight pints of blood drained drained away.
Thankfully I had editors Tristan Harris, also a first-timer, and Ian Dipple, a returning donor, beside me. Both would be a donating as well, as providing morale support.
I felt uneasy seeing the sight of four or five people lying on hospital beds which greeted us when we walked through the doorway.
Never-the-less, a warm smile from the friendly NHS staff goes a long way and we were soon sitting down and filling in the forms.
A short wait later I was called to give an iron sample, which I didn't even feel.
Swiftly afterwards I was ushered to lie on one of those beds and before I knew it, my sleeve was rolled up and cleaned ready for the needle. With 7,000 donations required nationally everyday, the staff don't waste time. But, they never rush you to the point of feeling uncomfortable. For me, less time to think about the things the better.
As the needle went in, other than a very slight discomfort, the pain is minimal.
Anyone who's had a blood test will have felt the sensation before.
Then, after a mild squeezing sensation on my bicep, it was all over within ten minutes.
Its amazing to learn the blood I gave would be ready to use just 48 hours later, and could save up to three lives.
A cup of tea and a bourbon biscuit later and I was all done, feeling immensely proud and not the least bit lethargic.
What is a little sobering is a look at the facts. With a 30 per cent increase in blood stocks needed ahead of this summer's celebrations, it's alarming to learn that only four per cent of people who can donate in Britain do. Women can give blood up to three times a year, and men four. In 12 weeks time I will gladly become a repeat donor. Hopefully, in the meantime, after reading this, you will be to.
To book an appointment to give blood call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk
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