Glasgow University Give Blood Society (GUGB) has launched its third annual Blood Battle. The competition, aiming to increase the number of students donating blood, has grown exponentially since its inception. Numbers have more than doubled, with up to 200 people participating in 2018. This amounts to up to 600 lives saved.
In collaboration with GUSA and the SRC, GUGB are challenging all societies – large and small alike – to get involved and compete. With each pint earning one point, winning teams have the chance to win something, with a number of local cafés, Tunnocks and the blood donation centre contributing potential prizes.
“The student population is a largely untapped resource in terms of blood donations,” explains Rachel McFarlane, the society’s publicity convenor, “and we hope to raise the number of people who donate on a regular basis.” Currently, this is only 3% of the population, which is not enough to keep blood stock levels stable.
For those interested in joining GUGB, donating is not mandatory: “We do flyering, organise events and bake sales for a different, communally chosen charity each term. Last term we put on a Glitter night at Hive which went down really well, as well as the PR for the QMU blood drive,” adds Rachel.
Policies around donations are changing all the time, so it’s worth giving the website www.scotblood.co.uk a look for any questions or queries. It also takes next to no time to take a quiz to test your own eligibility.
Recent changes to criteria include: a four month deferral period following piercings, tattoos, cosmetic treatments or complementary therapies involving needles – such as acupuncture – rather than a year (as long as your doctor is licensed). People who have sexual relations with "high-risk" individuals, and men who have sex with men have to wait three months. Certain medical conditions, medication and travel history can also impact suitability.
Teams have until 21 April to “donate and conquer”. “The most important thing is getting people engaged”, states Rachel.
The Glasgow Blood Donor Centre can be found in the city centre at 8 Nelson Mandela Place, and closes at 7pm.