Wild Highlanders brave Loch Ness for annual Vampire Swim
Laura Hulse from Cromarty (near Inverness) explains why she takes part in the event.
'For me personally, giving blood is very close to my heart. My Granny suffered from leukaemia and relied on blood transfusions as part of her treatment.
'Giving blood as part of a group gives you so much more motivation to come regularly and I know when I was going to give my first donation, I felt more comfortable in the company of my family and friends. You get such a sense of achievement knowing that together you’ve potentially saved or improved so many lives. It’s easy to let life get in the way of booking your next appointment but when you’ve got a date in the diary for it, it’s harder to let things slip.
'I first became a blood donor four years ago when I joined the Wild Highlanders open water swim group. Every Halloween weekend we take part in the International ‘Vampire swim,’ an International event organised locally by Helen Beveridge. Over the course of the morning, we take to the open waters dressed up as vampires, at the same time as other open swimming groups across the world. Of course there’s a fun aspect, however the real aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the need for blood donors. Participants in the swim pledge to give blood in the weeks before or after the event. Of the 28 participants who took part this year, 11 have given blood so far, with more booked in over in the coming weeks.
'Giving blood is so easy to do. There really is nothing to be scared of and it gives you such a huge buzz knowing that you have potentially saved a life.'
Find out where you can give blood in your area by looking up our website, or calling us on 0345 90 90 999