Yesterday I gave blood for the first time.I was coerced, I mean taken along, by one of my colleagues to give blood. She had suggested that everyone in my team do it and I said that I would if there ever was a donor centre near my work.
I used to work for an eye hospital and ran campaigns on encouraging people to sign up to donate their eyes when they have passed on and so I know the importance of donation. In fact, blood and transplants are so linked, they are even tied up in one NHS service, NHS Blood and Transplant.
Inspired by my Granddad and my colleague, I went along at my allotted time to a van near Waterloo station to roll up my sleeve and do what was right. I filled in some forms, answered some questions, had my blood iron level measured by a needle prick test in the finger and then sat down to have it done.
As the blood started to flow into the bag, I felt melancholy. I felt like some of my emotional strength was draining out of me as I contemplated what a wonderful thing that those around me were doing. The nurses and trained donor workers milled around talking to everyone, laughing with the donors and generally trying to keep people’s spirits up.
After my bag had filled up I was given biscuits, crisps and a cup of juice to revitalise my body. It did the trick and after ten minutes I scuttled off back to work and then out for the evening.
All in all, except for a bit of bruising and soreness on my arm, the experience was a good one.
Action can save lives, inaction can’t. Having worked in hospitals I know what a valuable resource blood is and only now have I really started to regret that I haven’t done it sooner.
I called my Granddad to tell him about giving blood and he said he was proud and mentioned that he had given 61 or 62 pints himself during his lifetime. That is potentially a lot of lives saved, a lot of families kept together and a lot of happy folks around.
I do strongly recommend that you act now, find out where you can donate and go and do it. It took me half an hour and I may have contributed to saving someone’s life.
I always wanted to rescue someone from a burning building or something equally ‘heroic’, but I am glad that by doing this I may have contributed to saving a life through much less strenuous means.