What started as a dare nearly 50 years ago has become a lifelong practice for Donington man Arthur Baldwin.
And the 64-year-old, who works in the agricultural industry, last week made his 100th donation.
“Back in 1968 I was at agricultural college in Caythorpe when a few mates and I saw a poster asking for volunteers.
“Giving blood wasn’t a common thing then, but we did it as a bit of a dare.
“And, apart from a few months when I was working in Sweden, I have donated at least every six months since,” he told the Free Press.
Arthur has always been modestly proud of his efforts but felt particularly worthy when he was presented with a special plate and invited to a dinner, along with other donors who had given 75 times.
“There was a young lady there who had been given lots of blood throughout her life and it had made a big difference to her health – it was then I saw first-hand what a difference tou can make by giving blood.”
Arthur is also keen to encourage others to follow his lead. He says: “It is well worth the effort and the worst that happens is a small prick on the finger. It only takes a few minutes.
“While I am fit and well enough to give my blood, I certainly will. And it actually makes me feel better physically as well as mentally.
“Your body starts to generate new blood as soon as the other has left the body, so I suppose I can see the logic in me feeling refreshed and more energised,” he said.
Arthur generally gives blood at the regular sessions held at the Springfields Events Centre in Spalding, and it couldn’t be easier. From arriving to leaving, it is unusual to take more than an hour.
From the moment you arrive at your donation session, you are guided through the process.
You will be provided with 500ml of fluid which will help with your wellbeing during and after donation.
You will be called for private health screening, where a donor carer will confirm your identity. It’s critical that an accurate link between you, your donor health check and your donation is made.
You will then be asked some confidential questions to ensure it’s safe for you to donate and your donation is safe for a patient to receive.
From here you’ll be called and invited to a donation chair. A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm to maintain a small amount of pressure and your arm will be examined to find a suitable vein before being cleaned with an antiseptic sponge.
Following needle insertion you should be comfortable during your donation. An agitator scale constantly weighs and measures your donation and stops when you have given 470ml.
After donation, the needle will be removed and a sterile dressing applied to your arm. You will then be invited to relax for 15 minutes with free refreshments before leaving.
The NHS Blood and Transplant service needs to make sure it has enough supplies of all blood groups and types to treat all types of conditions.
By giving blood, every donor helps provide life-saving products whenever and wherever they are needed.
Your blood’s main components are red cells, plasma and platelets. These are used to treat many different illnesses and conditions. They have a short shelf life, so supplies constantly need to be topped up.
Blood or its components are used to treat patients with medical conditions such as anaemia, cancer blood disorders, and those having surgery.
Donated blood or components are given to a patient in a blood transfusion.
During 2015 blood was used in hospitals in the following ways:
• 67 per cent was used to treat medical conditions including anaemia and cancer;
• 27 per cent was used in surgery;
• Six per cent to treat blood loss after childbirth.
The demand for blood from hospitals has fallen due to increased efficiency, but new donors are always needed to make sure there is enough blood to treat those who need it.
Blood transfusions can also improve the quality of life for people whose illness has no cure to give them a better quality of life and the energy and ability to enjoy this precious, final time with their families.
WHERE CAN YOU GIVE BLOOD?
There are many dates coming up in the area. Just ring 0300 1232323 or visit blood.co.uk to make an appointment.
- Boston, St Nicholas Community Centre, Fishtoft Road, Boston, PE21 0AA
- Boston, Boston Rugby Club, Princess Royal Sports Arena, Great Fen Road, Wyberton Fen, Boston, PE21 7PB
- Hubberts Bridge, Community Centre, Langrick Road, Hubberts Bridge, Boston, PE20 3SG
- Sibsey, Village Hall, Firthville Road, Sibsey, Boston, PE22 0SR