World Blood Donor Day falls on the 14th of June every year, but research shows that a disappointing amount of young people regularly donate in the UK. According to the NHS website, around half of regular blood donors are over 45, even though nearly 75% of 18-to- 24-year- olds say that everyone who meets donation criteria should give.
Whether this statistic is due to a fear of needles or a lack of time, we all have our reasons to shy away, but with the worldwide day of celebrating blood donation upon us it’s time to push our excuses aside and go for it. After all, giving blood is free, isn’t really that painful, and the rewards (a few chocolate biscuits and a whole day of smugness) are very worthwhile indeed!
Just in case you’re still afraid and need a little more incentive to go up against a needle, here are eight reasons to sign up to give blood this June.
1) It’s easy to register:
There are loads of blood centres and donation days across the UK; just sign up on the website and find somewhere near you!
2) It can save multiple lives:
After you donate, your blood is separated into different components and can be used to treat a few adult patients, or even more children. That means just 15 minutes of listening to cheesy hospital radio and just a little bit of pain can save the lives of around three people. Not all heroes have capes.
3) It might even save the life of somebody you know:
Everybody knows someone who at som point in their life has had a blood transfusion. Unfortunately many people are in situations wher they need blood desperately, and if you find yourself or someone you know ever needing transfusion it’s a good feeling to know you might have helped them get better.
4) You might have a rare blood type:
If you have O- blood like me, your donation can be given to anybody, regardless of their blood type. Some blood types like B+ are rare, but more often found in donors from Black, Asian and BME communities, so it’s really important to donate if you’re from within one of these groups as supplies are always running low. Plus it feels extra- saintly to donate regularly if you know your blood is in constant demand.
5) It can encourage you to be healthier yourself:
I personally have low iron levels, and you need to have pretty high levels to donate, so being a regular donor encourages me to eat well and take my supplements (something that I always forget to do). Being a regular donor can also encourage you to be a healthy weight, get your vaccines and guard against colds and flu.
6) You’ll feel awesome for the rest of the day:
You just saved a life or two, did a good deed, and got stuck with a needle, so you’re allowed to brag to your mates and generally feel pretty great about yourself for at least the rest of the day.
7) You get to share a gruesome selfie:
If you share your ghastly, bloody selfie you might even get a moment of fame on the NHS Blood Donation Facebook page, and you’ll get to freak out your friends by how unafraid you are in the face of needles.
8) You get free snacks after you’ve donated:
For more information on donating blood in the UK visit the NHS Blood Donation website.