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My experience donating blood and plasma with Lifeblood

My experience donating blood and plasma with Lifeblood


Happy national blood donor week! Shoutout to Charlie contributor (and Lifeblood legend) Charlotte Penhall, saving lives one drop at a time! Want to become a Lifeblood legend and make a difference? Make sure to check out the mobile Lifeblood van that visit our Charles Sturt campuses.

Written by Charlotte Penhall

Have you ever wondered what donating blood or plasma as a student is like?

You may have spotted the Lifeblood team at Market Day or driven past one of their donation centres. If you’re curious about the experience, let me share my own. 

Now, I’m no stranger to the idea of donating. My Mum has been donating for 10 years, my dad donated blood for a little while, and my Nan (Mum’s Mum) still donates when she can.

I was always going to follow their lead, but by the time I was able to start donating in 2021, COVID hit and shut everything down.

Mum taking a sneaky photo of me while we donated together.

So, when I first spotted the Lifeblood team during Market Day 2022, I jumped at the opportunity.

I haven’t donated blood yet, as my blood type isn’t needed at the moment. However, since starting in March 2022, I have made 38 plasma donations.

My 38th donation!

Preparing to donate blood or plasma is not hard at all. Lifeblood will text you one week before and one day before your appointment.

This is great as a student, as uni can get busy sometimes, and you can forget you’re booked in. I know I have, on occasion!

Now, onto actually preparing to donate. Preparing to donate blood is the same as preparing to donate plasma:

  • You should drink 8 glasses of fluids the day before the donation. For example, this can be water or juice.
  • Then, in the 3 hours before you’re due to donate, you need to drink at least 750ml of liquids (about 3 cups) and eat something savoury.

This is pretty much how I prepare for my donations, and I haven’t had any problems from preparing.

The only thing I may do differently is not having something savoury. I don’t always have something savoury on hand, so I just ensure I have something adequate to eat beforehand, like lunch or last night’s leftovers.

Walking into the Lifeblood Centre can be a little daunting. Don’t worry. The lovely staff are there to look after you. If you have any questions, just ask! I haven’t met a bad person working there yet! 

Now, this next little bit is not to scare you off donating. This is to make you aware of what can happen during your donation

Seeing your mum donate so easily for so long can definitely make it seem easier than it is for your first time, let me tell you!

I wasn’t able to fully complete my first donation because I started to go pale and feel off. I think it’s because I watched the needle that gently pulls my blood and plasma out, go into my arm.

(Above is the machine that draws the blood and plasma showing a full donation).

The staff were onto me straight away. My donation was stopped, my chair lowered a bit, and my feet raised until I was okay.

After I had something to eat and drink, they didn’t even want me to drive back to the uni and offered a taxi voucher.  Since this first donation though, I am happy to say that all my donations have gone well.

Keep an eye out in Bathurst and Wagga Wagga for the mobile Lifeblood van that visits campuses and makes it even easier to donate. Plus you can register to donate as part of the Charles Sturt University team wherever you are located!

If you have any further questions, check out the Lifeblood website!

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