Feeling slightly anxious about needles didn’t put Lizzie Ogley off donating blood for the first time.
The 19-year-old registered on the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) website in a matter of minutes via her phone and was given an appointment time.
And it’s people like Lizzie, of Elm Grove, Hayling Island, who The News hopes will take up our challenge of signing up 200 new donors by Christmas Eve.
Lizzie went to a blood donor session at the Hayling Island Community Centre, in Station Road, Hayling Island.
She decided to sign up after speaking to colleagues who already donate.
The hotel bar supervisor said: ‘I was told that it’s not painful and that you don’t have to see it happen – they were the two things that worried me the most.
‘Everything was explained to me very clearly when I arrived and I had plenty of time to ask questions and have them answered.
‘Registering was really easy to do – it literally only took a couple of minutes online.
‘I registered online via my phone and instantly got a text message to give me details.
‘Then I got a letter in the post to bring along to the session.
‘I would say to younger people to stop being lazy and register.
‘It really isn’t much effort and the process doesn’t take long at all.
‘I was only on the bed for five minutes or so, when it came to donating.
‘Without a doubt I’ll be coming back again.’
Steve Osborne, is the area donor services manager, and looks after donor sessions in the Portsmouth area, the Isle of Wight and two mobile units in Southampton.
He is also a blood donor and has given blood 54 times.
He said: ‘There has been a noticeable decline of younger people coming in to register and give blood.
‘I don’t know why that is. I’m not sure if it’s a pressure on their leisure time, but I would encourage them to come along.’
The News yesterday launched our Give Blood This Christmas campaign.
We’re working with NHSBT to get 200 new donors.
As reported, according to NHSBT, in Portsmouth 2,012 new donors signed up in 2010/2011.
But between 2011/2012, there were only 1,813 new sign-ups.
In Fareham, there were 696 new sign-ups, in 2010/2011, compared to 678, in 2011/2012.
And Gosport also saw a drop in people registering to become blood donors.
In 2010/2011, there were 703 new people taking part, but this dropped to 611, in 2011/2012.
Havant is the only district in the Portsmouth area to see an increase in donor numbers.
Between 2010/2012, the area saw 671 people sign up.
In the following year, this rose slightly to 686.
Backing the campaign are two long-term donors, who were at the Hayling Island session.
Retired interpreter Patricia Danby, 66, of West Lane, Hayling Island, has donated blood 54 times.
She said: ‘It’s a brilliant system – you give blood free and you get it free.
‘It gives a little bit back to the NHS, which we get free anyway.
‘It takes very little effort or time.’
And fellow donor Carol Carter, 61, of Seaview Road, Hayling Island, also spoke about the importance of donating.
The retired business administrator has donated blood 59 times.
She said: ‘I started at 18, I remember I was eager to do it as soon as I could.
‘Donating blood and voting, they were two things I couldn’t wait to do.
‘It’s such a small thing to do that takes up a small amount of time, but can have a very big impact on someone else’s life.
‘Plus you never know when you, or someone you know, would need blood.
‘You’re doing a wonderful thing and you do get a warm feeling afterwards – like you’ve done something worthwhile.’
Give one of the most precious gifts you can this Christmas – sign on to the blood donor register and help save lives.
Donor eligibilty and how to register
THERE are some criteria to meet in order to become a blood donor.
Anyone aged between 17 and 65, weighing more than 50kg (7st 12lb) and in general good health could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor.
There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the past two years.
People can register in a number of ways:
· They can attend any of the sessions listed on the right hand side of this page and speak to a member of staff.
· People can visit blood.co.uk and register online.
· Or to get more information, potential donors can ring the 24-hour helpline number: 0300 1232323.
The News is working with NHS Blood and Transplant to get 200 new blood donors on to the register.
If you are a new donor then The News would like to hear from you.
Once you have registered, then let health reporter Priya Mistry know.
People are asked to give their name, age, address, contact number and the reason for registering to donate blood.
At the end of the campaign, a roll of honour will be printed in the paper.
New donors can email email@example.com. They can call (023) 9262 2130.
Or write to: Give Blood This Christmas, The News, The News Centre, London Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth, PO2 9SX.
Tips to prepare yourself to donate
FOR any nervous new donor, here is advice on what to do to prepare yourself for a donation.
The advice has been given by NHS Blood and Transplant, which organisations donor sessions.
It gives the following information:
· Distractions help reduce nervousness so bring an MP3 player, book or a friend along with you to the donation session.
· On the day of donation and the evening before, drink plenty of fluids.
Avoid alcohol as this will considerably affect hydration and delay recovery.
· Regular meals before donating are necessary for maintaining blood sugars and ward off light-headedness.
· A good night’s sleep the evening before is beneficial to wellbeing and recovery.
· Tight clothing around the arms restricts blood flow and can cause bruises, so wear something loose and comfortable.
· Eligibility criteria to donate may vary so know your medical, body piercing and travel history to avoid delays. The top reasons people are deferred from sessions are they feel unwell, taking a course of antibiotics, dental work, cardiovascular conditions, infection within the past two weeks, being on a hospital waiting list or currently undergoing medical tests, travel, and piercings/tattoos.
Where you can give blood
· Today Waterlooville Community Centre, Maurepas Way, Waterlooville: 11am to 1.30pm and 3pm to 5.30pm.
· Thursday December 6, Thorngate Halls, Bury Road, Gosport: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Friday, December 7, Wickham Community Centre, Mill Lane, Wickham: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Monday, December 10, Holiday Inn, Cartwright Drive, Titchfield: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Tuesday, December 11, St Swithin’s Church, Waverley Road, Southsea: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Wednesday, December 12, Fratton Park, The Victory Lounge, Fratton Way, Portsmouth, from 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Friday, December 14, Porchester Community Centre, Westlands Grove, Porchester: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Monday, December 17, Holiday Inn, Cartwright Drive, Titchfield: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Wednesday, December 19, Waltham Chase Village Hall, Winchester Road, Waltham Chase: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Thursday, December 20, Petersfield Festival Hall, Heath Road, Petersfield: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Friday, December 21, All Saints Church, Hambledon Road, Denmead: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Monday, December 24, Sarisbury Green Community Centre, The Green, Sarisbury Green: 10am to 12.25pm and 1.45pm to 4.15pm.