BLOOD DONOR: Bridget McGuire from Killarney, who has been donating blood for 42 years is encouraging people to make a difference. Photo: Francis Foley

 

By Francis Foley

For 42 years giving has been a huge part of one woman’s life as Killarney woman Bridget McGuire has to date donated 50 pints of blood.

It takes just half an hour to donate one pint – but for Bridget from Dennehy’s Bohereen, it’s so much more as giving blood is so satisfying and worthwhile.

Bridget started giving blood in 1978, and plans to continue giving blood for as long as she can.

Bridget’s reasons for donating blood are quite straight forward and simple, as she explained to the Killarney Advertiser this week.

“The shortage of blood in the national blood banks is huge, so the more people that can give the better the situation will become.”

She added that the satisfaction you can get from helping others is a good feeling.

“The thought that one day your own family or friends may need a transfusion is an added reason to make it worth doing.”

In Killarney there are about three donation sessions a year, each lasting for approximately a week in certain venues in the town.

The next sessions in Killarney will be during the summer and the actual time, dates and venue will be advertised locally in advance. You can either register with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service before you go or just turn up on the day.

Donors are given a questionnaire at the beginning to see if they are suitable to donate, as some people may be rejected due to ill health or an on-going blood condition. These questions vary from your age to if you have had a tattoo or piercing in the last four months. There is also a simple blood test for suitability administered by staff at the venue on the day.

“It is completely painless and you don’t feel a thing while you’re being prepared for the donation or during it. This is helped by the excellent staff that attend to you by putting you at ease, and by the tea, coffee and biscuits you receive afterwards,” Bridget said.

Once donated all the blood is tested again for diseases, making sure it is completely safe before distributing it to hospitals around the country.

Donating blood is quick, easy and very rewarding for the donor.

“You’ll never know when you might need someone else’s blood yourself one day.”