In high school, my fear of needles could not be easily cured or faced. It felt like every week they were coming up with new immunisations and reasons for us to receive one. Attempts to get me into the vaccination line was as difficult as fitting a square peg in a round hole; lots of shoving with no hope. On many occasions, teachers and students found me hiding in the school toilets, shaking and crying. It was an ordeal over what was essentially protecting me from diseases and prolonging my life. Deep down I knew it was beneficial, but fear of the needle overtook me.
One day at school we were listening to students talk about their experience with donating blood. What they said wasn’t inspirational and it didn’t make me consider donating. Yet when I went home, I researched online about why people donated and why it was important; surely my blood wouldn’t make a difference. Without realising, it had been three hours of researching and watching videos of people who had been saved by a simple donation.
“For every blood donation given, three lives are saved.“
That’s the line that got me. 400ml of blood and 30 minutes of your time, saves three people. In that moment I decided to conquer my fear and start saving lives. I made an appointment and a couple of weeks later was in the donation centre with my mum, petrified.
After answering a couple of questions to ensure I was safe and clean to give blood, along with a small prick in the finger to test the blood sugar and a quick pump of the arm to check the blood pressure, I was ready to donate. A sweet lady searched for the perfect vein and slowly inserted the needle. It hurt for a couple of seconds. But that was it – a couple of seconds.
Within 5 minutes, 470ml was donated and it was finished. Looking up at my mum grinning was when I realised – I just had a needle inserted into my arm for five minutes without making a scene.
Since 2009 I have donated 470-500ml of blood every three months. This means roughly over 24 donations have been given, saving around 72 lives.
I have no regrets.
The best part is, I don’t squirm, flinch or need my mother to hold my hand anymore. Half an hour of my time is nothing in comparison to the lives being saved.
If you’re willing and able to donate, go for it. You may never meet the people you save, but you have done something great for three lives. It’s easy, trust me.