You're somebody's type: Donate blood

4 February 2020

If you’re looking to do something for the community, why not donate blood. It only takes an hour and you could help save a life!

Nurse checking blood pressure of patients using a blood pressure monitor

As you plan small acts of kindness or ways to volunteer, don’t forget the impact of blood donation. Donating blood is a relatively easy and quick process that could save lives of many including trauma patients or those undergoing surgeries, transplants.

Why donate blood?

  • Donating blood is a relatively quick process – 5-10 minutes of actual blood donation!
  • The staff at clinics are really nice and you’re supervised the entire time (especially if it’s your first time).
  • You’re surrounded by lots of friendly faces, all of whom are there for the same reason.
  • Refreshments are provided – you’ll normally have a choice of various different flavoured waters, tea and a wide range of snacks!
  • You’re supported throughout the entire process, with texts to remind you about your appointment as well as messages after your donation, giving you tips and advice for the best recovery.
  • Because you’re young – now is the best time to step outside of your comfort zone.
  • Your good deed could be contagious – just wait and see how many people you inspire to do the same!

What you need to know before you donate

  • If you’re looking for a clinic close to UCL, the West End Donor centre (by Oxford Street) is normally very busy! Download the NHSGiveBlood app to look for local appointments – there may be a bit of a waiting list.
  • After you’ve donated, you’ll need to replenish your iron levels. Don’t worry if you’re vegetarian or vegan – you can restore iron through supplements and foods such as lentils, tofu, dark chocolate, kale and nuts.
  • Taking a friend for moral support can seem like a good idea, but realistically it’s a little impractical in the busy clinic and in most cases unnecessary. The process is quick and the support from the clinic staff is fantastic. If you do feel stressed, you can always listen to some music.
  • Follow the NHS guidance to ensure you have a smooth blood donating journey!
    Julie Colonna, BA English Language and Literature