by Rebecca Pascoe
At one point in our lives, we will all know someone who needs a blood transfusion, whether it be a friend, family member of co-worker.
One in three people will need a transfusion during their lifetime. However, this can't happen if the blood isn't available. The NHS blood service needs 200,000 new donors a year, due to older people no longer being able to give blood, but the number of young people who donate has fallen by 60,000 in the past decade. Half the current donors are aged over 45, so, if young people do not start to donate, there will not be enough blood to supply the demand.
I signed up to be a blood donor as soon as I turned 17 and made my first donation a few weeks ago. This cause is something I am passionate about and I think it is extremely rewarding to know that you can save or improve up to three lives with every donation. A survey done by the BBC showed that 37% of young non-donors don't donate because they are scared of needles.
Although this is valid, I believe that ten minutes of slight discomfort is worth it for the benefit the blood can give to someone in need. The NHS staff work extremely hard to make the experience as comfortable as possible and, although I am not the biggest fan of needles, it was not overly painful.
Most people aged 17-65 are able to give blood and the whole process, from arriving to leaving, only takes around an hour. That's an hour that will save a life. Becoming a donor is something I am extremely proud of and I urge other young people to donate; you never know when you or someone you know might need it. Giving blood is essentially giving someone else the gift of life and the stance I take is that I can always make more blood so why not donate it?