Fresh blood

Our young blogger Caitlin blogs about her experience as a young person giving blood.

As young people in an ever-changing society, we have become accustomed to the instant gratification that comes along with its complexities, and because of that we’ve also fallen victim to what I’ll call ‘I’ll do it later syndrome’. With all these apps and platforms (forgive me for sounding old), it’s hard to actually get anything done.

The latest technology has provided us all with a powerful tool for communication and daily life, and yet so many of us don’t seem to realise how truly oblivious we have become, and I’m no exception. Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram… INSTA-gram! You name it, I’ve spent far too much of my life on all of them.

Not that that’s a bad thing.

It’s spectacular the things we can do nowadays, but still we might just need to rethink. The ‘I’ll do it later syndrome’ tends to make us vaguely delirious. We put off our homework because oh! We totally have time to do it later, or you know that email I should really send? It’s completely fine, isn’t it? After all— it’s only a click away.

So why do half of these things end up never done or late? Only you could really answer that, but why not get up and do something now? I highly doubt I could ever convince you to get up right now to go and finish something you really have no genuine interest in. But what about helping someone?

What about, say... giving blood?

Here in Scotland, you have to be at least 17 years old to consider giving blood, but even if you aren’t old enough it’s never too early to start thinking about others.

At this point in our life, due to no fault of our own, we’re all extremely selfish with our school or social life, whether or not we’ll be going to university, if somebody likes us or not, or even our appearance. Not that we mean to be; if in doubt blame the hormones, I say.

Only recently have I become a donor, and I’m grateful for the insight. From my perspective, I’ve only ever seen or heard of the minority of young, eligible people actually going to give blood. Perhaps it never really crosses our minds, or we’ve simply put it off saying “Of course I will! But later…”.

Nevertheless, I strongly believe that if we can, we should. There's simply no reason not to unless, of course, there are any kind of medical implications or you simply don't meet the criteria. It's necessary to involve ourselves within society. If we didn't all chip in somehow, we wouldn't be were we are now. No matter who you are, it's never too late to make a difference.

For any of you that may be worried or apprehensive about the entire experience, I can tell you that this comes from a girl terrified of needles. The whole procedure is extremely straight-forward and friendly. When I went to give blood every staff member was brilliant, especially the man who actually took it. Thank you, Patrick, for being such a delight!

You will be handed a form to fill in with a number of questions to gauge some key information about yourself and how this may affect your eligibility. Afterwards, you are taken to have your iron levels tested with a quick prick of the finger. To be honest, that part hurt the most, almost like the annoying pain of a papercut. Then off you go! Wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am, or should I say sir? Once you're done, you even get free food! How generous, right? It's vital that you have eaten and have taken plenty of fluids when giving blood to compensate for the rough pint you are about to lose.

After talking with a number of staff at the donation centre I learned that my findings were true— not many young people actually donate, which is honestly a shame. Most of their young people intake comes from visiting schools or holding blood drives there. Interestingly enough, I learned that one of the biggest things stopping people from donating is their involvement with some form of drug. There was also the issue of student life and the lovely horrors it may bring, i.e. drinking and bad diet. I must stress on their behalf, keep hydrated!

If I haven't convinced you yet or you would like more information, go to the scotblood website to find out whether or not you can give blood. They have a quick and easy test for you to find out!

On the website, you can see where your nearest donation point is along with days you can give blood. You can also sign up with your name and email to be added to the blood donation register, so that when you turn up they already have your details. But never fear, if you have any questions or queries the site cannot answer just send them an email. Their response time is great and no question is too small.