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The Perspective Of A Blood Donor

The Perspective Of A Blood Donor

Have you ever donated blood? Every day there are millions of people in need of blood donations, and one single donation can save a life.

If you have never donated blood before or it has been a while since your last donation, you will feel compelled to considering donating after reading this interview. Phil Hayes-St Clair, Drop Bio Health CEO, takes us through a blood donation with Lifeblood and why he is committed to saving lives.

When did you donate the first time, and what motivated you to donate?

Phil: I think it was 2003, and I donated whole blood. I had seen an ad for donating blood, and the ad showed a recipient, a little girl whose parents were commenting about how critical the donation was. It struck me how easy it was to contribute, taking just 20 minutes of your time.

It just felt like the right thing to do.

I donated in Brisbane, around the corner from where I worked at the time, and I started to learn more and more about the process. I think the donor experience back at the time was just as good as it is now, but there weren't any apps, and there weren't any ways to book an appointment or keep track. I felt compelled to donate; it just felt like it was a straightforward, easy way to help instead of just donating money.

How often can you donate?

Phil: If you donate whole blood (it takes 10-12 minutes), you can donate every quarter, so every three months. Or you can donate plasma or platelets, it takes a bit longer (50-55 minutes), and you can donate every fortnight. So ideally, I would donate fortnightly and alternate between plasma and platelets.

Do you know anyone who has needed a blood transfusion?

Phil: Yes, one of our former employees at Drop Bio Health was the recipient of a blood transfusion in the past. It certainly felt a lot more 'real' after meeting someone who was a recipient. It made me want to donate more.

How do you feel after donating physically?

Phil: Physically, I don't feel any different. You come in prepared, you eat well, drink well. You might feel like you need to drink a little bit more after your donation. But when you finish, you can have a drink and some snacks straight away. Some evidence suggests that donating blood speeds up your red blood cell production, but more so than anything, I walk out feeling accomplished.

Can you talk us through the process of donating blood for anyone who might not know where to begin?

Phil: So you can call 131495, or you can go online and look up where your local donor centre is, and they are everywhere. You create an account, find a time and book it.

When you get to the door, you are greeted by somebody from Lifeblood, and they do an iPad lifestyle questionnaire. They ask you some questions, like where have you travelled recently and whether you're feeling well.

There are some places that, if you have travelled to recently, could mean you cannot donate at that time but come back in the future.

That takes about 5 minutes; then they will take you into a little room to run some tests, one of which is blood pressure, another is a haemoglobin check with a finger prick which takes no time.

Then they take you out to the donor floor, hook you up, and ensure you are comfortable. After your donation, they patch you up and take you to the snack area, where you go nuts on snacks, and that's it!

There’s also an app. The cool thing about the app is that there's a lot of data they give you back about yourself, so you can check your blood pressure and haemoglobin and see how your health is over time. You can also book online through the app anytime and cancel your appointment if you need to, so they have made engaging super simple. They have thought carefully about making it convenient for their donors.

How long does it take to donate blood?

Phil: So if you were thinking about budgeting time (many donor centres are open after hours, too), you can probably budget end to end, maybe 50 minutes for whole blood. If you're doing plasma, I typically budget 90 minutes end to end and platelets about the same. I don't think they could have made it any more straightforward.

What do you say to those who have never donated and are keen to start?

Phil: There's something about seeing your blood or your plasma goes into a bag, which will then get transported to a hospital and seeing part of yourself be used to save a life - there's something about it. It's hard to explain. There's just something about that. It's not just money you are giving, and you are giving part of yourself. You can have a profound impact. I remember somebody at the time saying - you just helped a stranger in the fight of their life, and that's never left me. I then started donating plasma, realising that it could be used to help people in 18 ways.

Drop Bio Health & Lifeblood

Here at Drop Bio Health, we're proud to be part of Lifeblood Teams, the group donation program from Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, and we are calling you to action to give the gift of life this year along with us.

Aside from saving lives through blood donation, Lifeblood Teams is about friendship, a little healthy competition and being part of something bigger than yourself. It's a unique opportunity for all of us to band together and give something more powerful than money.

There's nothing like knowing you have genuinely helped someone; we would love to share that amazing feeling with you.

Register and join the Drop Bio Health Lifeblood Team - The WellBeing Team. Follow the steps below become a team mebmer.

  1. Log in to your account, or register if you don’t already have one. You don’t need to be a donor to register.  
  2. Join the team by heading to the 'Teams’ tab in the top right and clicking ‘My Teams’  
  3. Search The WellBeing Team and submit. Every donation from here on will count towards our team tally.

Useful links

Track how many lives your team has saved.

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