14 June marked a very important day that often goes by unnoticed. World Blood Donor Day shines a light on the significance of donating blood, and how it really is possible for everyone to save a life.
Donating blood is a true act of altruism – giving without expecting anything in return, and not knowing who will receive your gift.
But what does it take to become a blood donor?
How to become a blood donor
Becoming a blood donor involves a simple and straightforward process. Here are the key steps:
Before donating blood, you need to check if you meet the criteria to become a blood donor. The criteria is put into place to protect the donor and the recipient.
According to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), the criteria to become a blood donor are:
Find a donor centre
Next, find a donor centre. The SANBS has a handy map with a list of donor centres here: SANBS Website.
At the centre, you’ll have to undergo a health screening. These confidential interviews will determine your eligibility, and get you prepared to donate. The staff will also discuss any side-effects you might feel. Once the interview is over, your blood pressure and iron levels are checked.
If you are cleared, you’ll get a comfortable chair to sit in, and the process will begin. Generally, the donation takes about 30 minutes to complete. You’ll then be prepped for what to expect the rest of the day and any precautions you’ll need to take will be discussed.
Donating blood is a truly selfless act that can change someone’s life. From people undergoing cancer treatment, to children with life-threatening illnesses and accident patients. Your blood can help someone live out the rest of their life. If you’re ever in hospital and need a blood transfusion, remember that someone just like you took that step to save your life.
South African National Blood Service (SANBS). Nd. Donation process. Available here.
South African National Blood Service (SANBS). Nd. Who can donate. Available here.