By Uzma Chaudhry

Before you close the tab on this article, because you’ve seen a picture of a needle and have an adverse physical reaction/outer body experience to the sight, talk and mention of needles, hear me out.

In England alone, the NHS need over 6000 donations of blood a day to treat patients across the country, with one unit of blood-saving the life of up to three adults or seven infants. That’s not an insignificant number.

Every year, there is a shortfall of volunteers coming forward to donate blood, with figures plummeting for donors between the age of 17 to 34. NHS Blood and Transplant have claimed that around 200,000 blood donors are dropping off the register every year, and more vitally, donors from Black and Asian backgrounds.

You may have considered donating blood, and even recognise the importance of doing it, but for one reason or another, put it off. Here are some myth busters to motivate you to make your appointment!

1) I’m too busy..Netflix doesn’t watch itself you know.

I get it. An increasingly busier lifestyle, longer commutes, longer hours of work and a more hectic social life lend themselves to you to putting off a donation in favour of taking a well-deserved break. From experience, a donation (done with an appointment) can take around 30 minutes in total. That’s from stepping foot into the building to leaving with your free biscuit and cup of tea. There’s a really handy booking system that will allow you to pick from a number of locations near you, and a time that’s convenient for you from a morning session through to 7 pm! I’ve comfortably been able to walk to my closest donation centre in my hour lunch break, and be back in time for work with (did I mention) my free biscuit and cup of tea! And you can only donate once every 3 months which is 4 times a year. At half an hour each, 2 hours in a year is trade-able over your incessant scrolling on the Instagram explore page.

2) If a family member needs blood, I’ll whip my arm out then and they can take all that they need. Right?

Alright Thomas Beckket, calm your socks. Whilst I’m sure your family or friend entirely appreciates the sentiment in your offer, there are a number of reasons this can’t be done. Unless the recipient has an extremely rare blood type, and you happen to match it, it’s not logistically feasible to solely rely on grabbing the closest nurse and begging them to stab you with a needle. Hospitals have a blood bank, yes, just like the ones in Vampire Diaries…but without the Vampires (apparently), where they closely monitor the stock and replenish/put out calls for donations of specific types based on this. There are thorough medical checks to be done before they use the blood in another patient which can’t be facilitated on the spot.

 

3) Can’t they just uh….make some in a lab? Like in…True Blood?

Oddly, this is the second vampire reference I’m making, and the short answer is still no. We’ve not quite evolved medicine and technology in such a way where synthetic blood can be created to meet demand, which is odd considering it’s 2018 now and stranger things have happened like…Donald Trump.

4) Is it not *whispers* racist to say Black and Asian blood is more needed over others?

Though it’s no secret that BME donors are made of something special – capable of withstanding all the institutional racism and hate crime we’re subjected to in a world built for white men – giving blood isn’t defined by the outward semantics of where we live. Blood has the same functionality for everyone of any colour. Where it differs however, is the blood types from person to person. And, with there being more than 30 different blood types, you cannot ignore that some types are more common over others, and some are also in greater demand. Some blood types are simply more common in different ethnic groups, and that’s not racist to say!

According to the NHS, “Black people are more likely to have a rare subgroup called Ro. Ten times more likely than a white person. Many people with sickle cell disease need regular blood transfusions of healthy blood to stay alive. That means we need more Ro blood to help the growing number of patients with sickle cell disease.” and therefore more black donors. Its simple science.

If none of those facts resonate with you, nor are you motivated by the ability to quite literally save a life (without that medical degree your mum wanted you to do at the age of 13), then rest assured, I have one final reason for you rooted in self-absorption and personal gain:

Free biscuits and a free cup of tea.*

Need I say more?**

*also on offer is orange squash, lemonade, coffee, crisps, raisins(who even takes those?), and shortbread.
**Snacks vary from donation centre to centre. Don’t @ me when they’ve run out of Clubs ok?

 

Uzma works full time in business sales at Telefonica. She is studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics part-time with Open University as a means to make sense of the world in which we exist! She is a v·inspired ambassador whose work revolves around empowering young people into volunteering and leadership. In her spare time, she enjoys musing in her blog and has writing pieces on faith and race, offering a more holistic perspective on current affairs. If she has any juice left by the end of the week, she creates Youtube videos for her channel Caruzmatic as well as run a small venture in selling her bespoke art for ucdesigns.co.uk

Twitter: @Uzzywuzzy