DCU’s blood donation clinic which took place last week had the highest number of attendees in years.
Over 600 students, the highest in a number of years, donated blood at the event which was run by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) in association with DCU Students’ Union.
“We’re very, very encouraged by the support and response at DCU,” a representative from the IBTS told The College View. “It’s easy to give money to a cause, but this is giving a part of yourself.”
More than 3,000 blood donations are needed every week with one in four of us needing a blood transfusion in our lifetime. Only five per cent of the population who are eligible to donate blood do so.
The IBTS has a long association with DCU and has been visiting the Hub twice a year for some time, along with the majority of third-level institutions in the country. Students are more likely to donate blood due to the amount of free time they have. Last year more 23-year-olds donated blood than any other age group.
While there has been a high level of blood donors, a large amount of students have been turned away from donating blood. The IBTS has said this is because of “lifestyle factors”.
To give blood, you have to be between the ages of 18 and 60 and must weigh more than 7 stone 12 lbs. You are advised not to donate if you are on medication or have a cold. Smokers should wait at least an hour after their last cigarette before donating.
Like the majority of blood donation services, the IBTS does not accept blood donations from men who have had sex with other men. The service has said this is because they need to prevent illicit samples getting into the blood supply.
Claire Whyte, a second year General Nursing student, was one of many students who donated blood last week. “It went pretty well, I thought. I was at the clinic on Monday but there was such a huge queue and I said I’d come back the next day.”
Claire decided to give blood because she knows that it’s essential to the health service. “I’m starting my placement soon and on my last placement, I could see first-hand how many people avail of the service.”