Every June 14th countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. This year is the 20th anniversary of the event that serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products.

Here at Godel, we have our own volunteers, a group of people that are willing to share their blood with those in need. We talked to some of them to know how It is to acknowledge that your donation can save somebody’s life and what are the best ways to prepare yourself to it.

“The blood of one person can be given to three other people, and there is no other way for them to get it.” Krystsina Labada, Jr. .NET Software Engineer

I started donating blood at the age of 19, when I was at university. I was interested and scared at the same time: I always wanted to try, but there were people around me who said that during the test you could become infected with something or that after the procedure you would not be able to recover for a long time. Interest overcame fear – I have been donating for 5 years.

The myths I heard were not confirmed. All blood collection points are, of course, very sterile, and before they take the required amount of blood from you (for the average donor this is 450 ml), you fill out a special questionnaire, they do a blood test, determine your blood type, and you are examined by a doctor. If all stages are successful, you are immediately called to take the test.

The most important thing before donating is to prepare well. When I donated blood for the first time, for some reason I thought that I had to do it on an empty stomach – probably a habit from average blood tests. In donation, it’s absolutely the opposite: the more fatty and sweet you eat, the better. Sweet tea and coffee, cookies, chocolate – all this can only help. In Poland, a funny incident recently happened to me: I came to donate blood, having previously eaten only Greek yoghurt, and the doctors scolded me for it – they said I should have eaten at least some kind of sweet bun. You also need to have a good eat in order to feel good during and after donation.

People who donate blood regularly usually feel quite normal after donating. Of course, there may be slight weakness – it is clear that you won’t be able to run and jump much, but a day at home may be enough to recover.

The coolest feeling is right after donation when you understand that your blood will save someone’s life. I once read that the blood of one person can be given to three people: to some as plasma, to others as platelets, to others as whole blood. But what most convinced me to once become a donor and constantly donate blood is the fact that they have not yet learned to synthesize blood. That is, all people who really need blood can only get it from other people. There are no other options. This kind of motivation is enough for me. Now every three months I have a reminder that it’s time to sign up for the donation. But if I could take it more often, I would do it. And it’s very easy – it’s a charity that doesn’t require anything from you except yourself and one day of your life – no money, no special training.

And this is not scary at all, and even pleasant: when you come to the blood donation point, everyone is happy to see you, they talk to you politely, explain every action, and help you if you suddenly feel bad – that’s because you are doing one good thing together.

“Donating blood is also helpful because your body learns to cope with such a critical situation of losing blood.” Mikalai Katunou, Sr. JavaScript Software Engineer

The first time I donated blood was back in 2008. I remember this well because then I was advised to come for donations more often because of my rather rare blood type – It’s AB+. I donated several times back then and took a break. But recently I returned to it again – I wanted to do charity.

If we talk about how to decide to start donating, then first, of course, you need to decide for yourself why you need it. I can say from myself that donating blood is also helpful because your body learns to cope with such a critical situation. That is, if it suddenly happens that a person loses a lot of blood, it will be easier for his or her body to adapt – that’s because of a similar experience this body had during donation.

It would be a good idea to simply go to the blood point for reconnaissance. You can talk to doctors, take a general test, and only then make a decision – no one, of course, will forcibly take your blood away.

Before you go to donate, you need to read about the restrictions in advance: you should clarify the weight norm for donation, monitor illnesses and whether you are taking any medications. An interesting point – you cannot donate blood for a week after a dental appointment – it is believed that you could potentially become infected. The day before, be sure to eat well and drink lots of water. By the way, at my blood point, after the donation, everyone is given a box of chocolates to replenish their blood sugar levels: it’s very nice to meet people with such boxes afterwards – you immediately understand that you were doing the same thing.

In general, this is also a cool way to monitor your health: essentially, every two to three months you do a quick and free blood test, and the doctor also examines you. So you definitely won’t miss any diseases.

“I needed a blood transfusion on the seventh day after birth.” Pavel Shyrko, .NET Division Manager

Common misconception: “It doesn’t concern me.” Meanwhile, there are statistics that every third person needs a blood transfusion during his life. This need arose for me on the seventh day after birth.

Due to an infection, I had emergency surgery. Then, to prevent further sepsis, blood plasma drips were placed for several days in a row. My donation is a kind of payment for the fact that complete strangers, by donating their blood, saved my life. In other words, this is an attempt to implement an idea from the wonderful film “Pay It Forward”.

I became a donor by accident. I come from a large family, and money has always been a pressing issue for us.

When I was a student, I was constantly looking for opportunities to earn extra money: I wrote programs, tests, essays, and graduation projects for money. I saw an advertisement that for donating blood you can receive monetary compensation equal to almost half of my scholarship. The decision was made instantly, and I went to take the donation.

The doctor showed me a twenty-millimeter syringe and said that twenty of them would be pumped out of me. It was then that I had a strong desire to turn around and run away. As a result, I didn’t see anything terrible, painful or dangerous in this process; the blood sampling lasted only ten minutes. Surprisingly, I felt great, I didn’t even feel dizzy. I was sent to rest under the care of the medical staff, and I spent the next 30 minutes enjoying the thoughts that I was not afraid and that I had done something useful for humanity, our medicine and for the specific person my blood would help.

When I started working and money was no longer an issue, donating for free became a kind of hobby – I’m doing a good deed. Donating blood is only scary the first time when you don’t know what awaits you. If possible, sign up for the procedure with friends or colleagues – going through the process together and sharing your impressions will be easier and more fun.

The blood collection procedure itself is painless and safe and takes place in a comfortable and friendly environment. Donation has a positive effect on self-esteem and well-being. And the fact that your blood will ease someone else’s suffering does not need additional confirmation.

“I am on the bone marrow donor database…” Kseniya Vasilyeva, Sr. Talent Acquisition Manager

It sounds scary, painful and incomprehensible, but when your family is faced with the need for such a transplant, you begin to navigate complex terms and processes. I haven’t succeeded in becoming a donor yet, I’m still waiting for my data to intersect with someone in need.

Becoming a donor is simple: you need to get a certificate from the clinic and take a blood test, after which they will conduct a mini-interview with you. If everything is in order, all you have to do is wait to be invited.