Giving blood - it’s easier than you think...

Reporter Lee gave blood for the first time
Reporter Lee gave blood for the first time

If you have never given blood before and have always wanted to, but have never taken the plunge then this article is directly talking to you.

To all those who regularly attend a donor session and give blood or did for the first time recently I admire what you did and what you have continued to do.

the biscuits and sweets on offer afterwards

the biscuits and sweets on offer afterwards

I have never given blood before and after speaking to the lovely people who work tirelessly behind the scenes they allowed me to document my journey for the Mearns Leader and Kincardineshire Observer.

I was one of 111 donors last Tuesday night at the Inverbervie Sports Centre and one of nine attendees who were donating for the very first time.

To put that into perspective that means that over 100 donors were regulars and have seen all of this before and I am pretty sure they will agree that giving blood couldn’t be easier, took no longer than an hour and really good make a difference.

Every minute of every day someone in Scotland is receiving blood as part of a life-saving or life-enhancing treatment. Yet, only 5% of the population are active blood donors.

Over 100 donors were at the session at Inverbervie last week

Over 100 donors were at the session at Inverbervie last week

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) must welcome 5000 blood donors every week to meet the needs of patients in Scotland.

Before going along to a session you can check out if can donate by taking a quick quiz on . It asks you eight simple questions about your age and lifestyle which could help allivate any fears whether you can donate or not.

I walked in just before 6pm, I wasn’t registered and was out the door (after some biscuits and tea) shortly after 7pm. Staff were friendly, professional and always had my safety at the forefront of their minds, while allowing me to take a couple of pictures along the way.

When you first arrive, your details are taken and you fill in a short questionaire.

Once that is all done and no problems you get a quick blood test that checks your iron levels. It is a quick prick to the finger (that I assure you doesn’t hurt at all) a tiny sample taken and checked with a machine. With all being good you then take a quick seat until someone is available.

When they are ready for you, you lie down on a bed, your arm cleaned, a quick vein check and then it is down to business. A qualified member of staff will insert a needle that will allow you to give your donation.

Does it hurt?

The pain is over as quickly as it starts and I am sorry for the visual but it doesn’t hurt more than popping a big spot (again big apologises for the visual but you understand the quantity of pain we are dealing with now).

The whole thing seemed a lot quicker but after lying there for maybe 10-15 minutes I was informed that I all done. That was it, quick, relatively painless and stuck in the knowledge that my donation may help someones life.

So you’ve just given blood, you are all plastered up and now you get to the good part. You have a seat with others who have just gone through the same as you and have biscuits and hot or cold drink.

If at any point you don’t feel right, you can alert a member of staff. I must of been one easy customer as I was more than happy tucking into the selection of biscuits and juice.

It was here I quickly met a gentleman who had given blood for the 95th time, he had a quiet confidence about him that donating for the 95th time would give you.

He knew the process, did his survey and the test, gave his donation and had his biscuit. I’m gutted I didn’t get your name, but thank you. You’ve given me a goal I can now aim for as I don’t want this to be a one off.

There is a list of up and coming blood donor sessions in Kincardine and Mearns, if you see me at one of them (it is recommended you leave 12 weeks before giving blood again) give me a wave.

n Mackie Academy, Sunday, June 1, 10:30 - 12:30 & 14:00 - 16:00; Laurencekirk Dickson Hall Thursday, August 7, 14:00 - 16:00 & 17:30 - 20:00; Portlethen Academy Monday, September 1, 16:30 - 20:00; nInverbervie The Sports Centre Tuesday, September 16, 16:30 - 19:30; Mackie Academy, Thursday, September 25, 16:30 - 20:00.