Blood Donor Day is celebrated on 14 June to help bring awareness to donating blood. Whether you are thinking of donating for the first time or have previously donated, awareness helps eliminate fears you may have about donating. Imagine the sense of joy and altruism you could feel by knowing that a pint of your blood (that\’s just less than half a liter) could save as many as 3 lives. You may have hang-ups of sharing your blood because of stigmas, or your fear of needles might prevent you from being a donor, but there are so many people out there who need you.
Why should you be a blood donor?
The answer is quite simple, you could save lives. Thousands of patients across the world die on a daily basis as there is constantly a shortage of safe quality blood. One in six expectant mothers is likely to need blood during pregnancy and childbirth. Blood becomes crucial at these fragile moments for pregnant women and during childbirth. There are thousands of others who benefit from blood donations: people involved in accidents, children with severe anemia, surgical and cancer patients. You could also one day need a blood donation, so why not pay it forward?
The donation process:
Blood donation is quick, safe and ultimately good for your body as you are able to replenish your blood supply in under a month. The process means simply going to a reputable blood donation center where you will register for donation. This will be followed by a quick physical examination that screens your blood for any underlying medical conditions offering you an excellent insight into your health. Drawing blood takes around 8 – 10 minutes for a pint of blood (about 350-450ml). And that pint can save up to three lives.
What’s stopping you being a blood donor?
You might be one of the few who has a fear of needles or might think your blood type is not needed. Your fears are valid, yet if you consider the number of lives you will save it will be easier to brave the pinch of the needle and walk out a hero. Blood transfusions are quick, and there are layers of safety precautions that include using sterile and once-off disposable equipment to ensure your health safety. There is a next to zero chance of catching any diseases through transfusion. People with serious diseases like Hepatitis, HIV and jaundice, or other various life threatening illnesses, are not allowed to donate.
What blood type is most needed?
All blood types are needed, but rare blood types are especially a high priority. Blood type A positive is the most common blood type and remains the most in demand. In Namibia, recent stats showed a significant shortage of blood type O positive and blood type O negative as these blood groups are in particular need. On average, blood donor centers need 135 donations a day yet they average around 85 donations a day, leaving supply critically low.
Be a blood donor for your health
There are health benefits to be reaped from donating blood, as regular blood donation is linked to lower blood pressure and a lower risk for heart attacks leading to a healthier heart and vascular system. It\’s no wonder celebrities like actor Tom Hanks and Opera singer Andrea Bocelli have been champions in blood donation drives, ensuring a positive contribution in blood donor research.
Blood donation is a selfless act that ensures you play a significant role in your community. If you have never donated before, or it\’s been a while since you last donated, there are precious lives that need you.