Blood is an integral part of our day to day life. Not only does it ensure adequate delivery of oxygen to our vital organs, it is also important to fight infections, stop bleeding and help maintain an ample circulating volume for the heart. In Australia, it is estimated that one in three of us will receive a blood transfusion at some point in our lives. Given this high demand for blood, the Melbourne SYA team, chose this as one of the first projects to undertake in serving the community.
The first SYA Blood Drive was held on the 4th of March at the Southbank Red Cross Donation Centre, in the heart of Melbourne. On arriving at the donation centre, we filled in a short questionnaire assessing our suitability to donate blood. Unfortunately, those unwell, on antibiotics or dehydrated were unable to donate blood. These checks ensure that no diseases are transmitted across from the donated blood, or that the act of donating blood does not risk the health of the donor.
Once completed, there was a short wait prior to being seen by the Red Cross staff. There were cookies and plenty of water to hydrate us for the donation, not to mention the opportunity to catch up with friends. We were then individually called in to the interview rooms by the friendly Red Cross staff. They measured our blood pressure, heart rate and went through the questionnaire with us. They also did a quick “finger prick” test to measure our haemoglobin level. Once they felt that we were healthy and safe to donate blood, we were brought into a separate room, where we were able to donate blood.
The act of donating itself did not take too long. The amount of blood obtained varied from person to person, depending on age of the donor, size of the vein used and the flow of the blood. Even the smallest amount of blood received is precious, so it’s never a wasted effort. There was plenty of reading material to keep us entertained during this short period and before we knew it, we were sipping on some cool refreshments. In this short hour, our blood will help save the lives of 3 different people.
The next blood drive is planned for June, with the aim of obtaining a mobile blood donation van to be set up in Gurdwara to allow easier access for donors.
We hope to see you all there!