on June 13th, 2024

Meet James Mackay, the Technology Manager at the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT), also known as a hero. His journey is nothing short of inspiring, and it’s about time the world heard his story. 

Blood donations have been around for the longest time. But why is donating blood significant? 

It is literally a lifeline for countless individuals in need. From emergency situations to ongoing medical treatments, donated blood provides hope and healing to patients facing diverse health challenges.  

Moreover, blood donations play a pivotal role in medical advancements, enabling researchers to develop life-saving treatments and therapies. Beyond its tangible impact on individual lives, donating blood fosters a sense of community and solidarity, as individuals come together to support one another in times of need. 

But how does this connect to our everyday lives? Enter James, whose remarkable dedication to blood donation sheds light on the profound impact it can have.  

In a recent interview with EIT, James shared his inspiring story, revealing that he has been donating blood since he was 19 years old. Let’s look deeper into James’s journey of his selfless act. 

Exclusive Interview with a Hero  

The hero that strives to give blood donation regularly
James Mackay, Technology Manager at EIT

What inspired you to start donating blood and plasma regularly?  

EIT encourages staff to donate when possible. When I started at EIT and these announcements were sent through, I thought it would be a good opportunity to do something charitable. When I realized how straightforward it was to donate, I decided to do it more regularly. 

How frequently do you donate blood and plasma, and what motivates you to maintain this schedule? 

I try to stick to a plasma donation every one to two months. The frequency varies depending on whether I am travelling or unwell, but overall, I try to maintain a regular schedule.  

Can you share any memorable experiences or stories from your donation journey?  

At my 50th donation, the nurse expressed her gratitude for the milestone, and took a photo of me with a “50th” sign. It was completely unnecessary, but I was very humbled by the appreciation from the staff.  

What impact do you believe your donations have had on those in need of blood or plasma?  

I like to think they help the hospitals and people in need. It is a quick charitable contribution, so I will happily continue donating if it goes to those in need.  

How do you feel before, during, and after donating blood or plasma?  

I hear feedback that you might feel a bit weak after a donation, but honestly, I really do not feel different at all. It is always admittedly a bit of a sting when the needle goes in, but after that, you just sit in the very comfortable chair for the duration of the donation.  

Are there any misconceptions about blood or plasma donation that you’d like to address?  

People are under the impression that being a donor is very restrictive, and that people may not be eligible for a variety of reasons (being on medication, having tattoos, etc). This is not always the case; it is worth checking with the blood center and they can verify your eligibility quite quickly.   

I have also heard rumors that they reuse needles. This is a complete falsehood; hygiene standards are very strict, and needles are discarded after every donation.  

How do you encourage others to consider donating blood or plasma, and what advice would you give to someone who’s considering it for the first time?  

It is really an uneventful experience; I mean this in the best possible way. You just have a quick health check before you start, sit back for the donation, and then get some free food and drink afterwards.  

If you are unsure about anything at all, you can always ring up the blood donation center, and they will answer any questions whatsoever. They are very helpful and friendly.  

In your opinion, what role does regular blood and plasma donation play in supporting healthcare systems and communities?  

Blood/plasma donations are critical to a range of medical conditions. I believe blood and plasma does not last very long, so regular donations are essential for people who require the donations.  

Would you like to recommend a place where people can donate blood and plasma?   

I usually go to the Blood Centre in Perth (1/140 William St, Perth). I have not been to other clinics, but I’d imagine the experience would be similar. 

Anything else you would like to share about your involvement in giving back?   

Depending on eligibility, I’d encourage everyone to donate. It is a quick and straightforward process and a profound way to give back to the community. As mentioned above, if you have any questions about how the donation will impact on you, what the process entails, or anything at all, contact your local Blood Centre; they are always very happy to provide details. 

James’s commitment alongside EIT’s encouragement inspires individuals to consider their own contributions to their communities. His story reminds people of the power of simple acts of kindness and encourages them to follow his example, through blood and plasma donations, or in or in any other way possible.  

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