I've been deferred for a couple of months and yesterday my donation date clicked on. I received an sms and a phone call from SANBS to please come through. When you're O Negative, you're in demand! I was in Rustenburg yesterday so I went today to make my 39th donation.
I got lucky - receiving a Geldhof Easter Bunny. Yum!
I also found my favourite cinnamon cookies in the cookie bowl and I had a delicious hot chocolate from the fancy machine, which my donor centre got last year.
I learned a couple of things today:
Bags must be filled within 15 minutes. For whole blood to be used, the bag must be filled within 12 minutes (used to be 15, this is a new thing). It's all about the platelets, apparently. Most donors fill a bag in 8 to 15 minutes. I'm on around 6 mins for a bag.
They get a lot of people who come and donate for their 67 Minutes for Mandela thing. They come once a year only.
THIS IS A TOTAL WASTE OF YOUR TIME AND THAT OF THE CLINIC AND RESOURCES.
I've said it before and I'll say it again (please spread the word)...
You've got to become a regular donor (three to six times a year) for your blood to be used.
If you come once-a-year then your donation gets thrown away.
Yes, in the trash! (well, medical incinerated trash!)
Why? When you come once, your blood is tested for nasties and, if clear, it sits in the freezer waiting for you to come in again. When you come in again, within a year, they test again. And they wait for you to come in again within the year. If all three samples are clear, you are then classified as a 'regular donor' with blood that is safe to give to a recipient.
BUT... you've got to maintain this regular donor status or you'll have to start from scratch again.
If you were the recipient I'm sure you'd appreciate the safety standards and checks implemented by SANBS.
If you just make a feel-good donation once a year without intending to become a regular donor, don't.
You're wasting the time and resources of SANBS - staff, equipment, blood tests, freezer space.
If you really want to contribute, save a life and all that stuff, then commit to donating three to six times a year. Simple, really.