Serena overcame her fear of needles to become life-saver
IT was sharing the same blood group as only 3% of the population which prompted Serena Fisher to start giving blood.
The 21-year-old said she had already been contemplating donating, knowing she could be saving lives.
But she admitted it was the "needle" part of the process which stopped her from becoming a first-time donor earlier than in October.
"I didn't know anything about giving blood before I went for the first time," said Serena, of Allestree.
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"All I knew was that there was something to do with a needle and that they took a pint of blood.
"And, for a while, the needle did stop me from going. That's because I didn't realise how easy it was going to be."
Because Serena – whose blood group is AB positive – gave blood for the first time two months ago, she will not be able to donate again until February.
But she said she has no qualms about going back again and hopes to one day reach triple figures with the number of blood donations.
That is why Serena is backing the Derby Telegraph's Save a Life campaign.
We want to find 500 new blood donors in Derbyshire in the run-up to, and during, the Christmas period.
Serena, of Park Farm Drive, Allestree, said: "It's easy to say now but people shouldn't be worried about going to give blood.
"The atmosphere is always really friendly at the sessions and I think people should at least try it once.
"Even if they go along with a friend, it's just worth people going down and seeing what the sessions are like for themselves, so they know what they're doing.
"But I really think we need to make an effort to give blood – it will make a difference."
Serena went along to Derby County's Pride Park Stadium for her debut session, where donors were invited to give blood on specialised chairs rather than lying on a bed.
She said: "I found the whole thing a nice experience – there was nothing daunting about it at all.
"Interestingly, they were testing out the chairs and everyone was talking about how different it is to the beds but, because I'd never been before, I didn't know anything different.
"But I was really proud that I'd overcome my nerves about the needles."
Serena said there were two reasons why giving blood was important to her.
She said: "When I found out I was AB positive, I felt that was even more of an incentive to give blood because of the rarity of that group.
"On top of this, I lost my nan to cancer two years ago and I often think about how she might have needed blood. I wouldn't like to have thought that, if she had, I hadn't given any. It's the help it gives people which is important to me."
YOUR CHANCE TO GIVE BLOOD
THE Derby Telegraph is hoping to reach thousands of readers with its Save a Life Campaign – to turn you into life-savers.
We teamed up with NHS Blood and Transplant to try to find 500 new blood donors in Derbyshire.
To inspire you to give blood, we are featuring the stories of people whose lives were saved by transfusions or those who are already blood donors.
And there are plenty of NHS Blood and Transplant sessions for readers to donate. They are at:
Pride Park Stadium, Derby, Sunday, from 10.15am to 12.45pm and from 2pm to 3.30pm.
Ravensdale Junior School, Mickleover, Sunday, January 6, from 10am to 12.45pm and from 2pm to 4pm.
The Spot, Derby, Sunday, January 13, from 10am to 12.30pm and from 1.45pm to 3.30pm.
Most people can give blood. First-time donors should be in good health, between 17 to 65 years old and weigh at least 50kg, or 7st 12lb.
About 470ml of blood is given and this amount is quickly replaced by the body.
To book an appointment, call 0300 123 2323 or visit www.blood.co.uk.