Friday, 12 June 2015

National Blood Donation Week

Blood.




It's very important. Too little and you may find yourself gasping for breath. Too much and you are at risk of a stroke. Yeah, that important.

I'm not sure if my brother received any blood before he died but if he did it's because people are good. I wouldn't be writing this today if people didn't donate, my mother needed a blood when she was born. Yet only 4% of the population who can give blood, do give blood. They need 204,000 new donors to replace those who can no longer donate. People like me although I will hopefully be able to donate again soon.

4% of the population who can donate, do donate.

To me that's a disgrace. And why do people not donate?

Scared? Too busy? Nothing to do with me? Forgetfulness?

What's your excuse?

You know what's scarier and more painful?

Being hit by a bus, receiving treatment for blood cancer, haemorrhaging after giving birth, dying. 

I know the session times can be a little annoying and that you sometimes have to wait a while but why not resolve to take a day off work each year, perhaps go shopping in the morning, treat yourself to a delicious lunch and then go and do something amazing. 

In a former life I learnt about the power of blood. I learnt it's "mystical" properties and I've seen it literally breathe life into the dying and bring people back from the brink. It is truly a very precious gift. I know to call it a gift seems to rather exaggerate the significance but it is so very important.

So donation. I imagine that for many of you this is the major barrier against donation so let me demystify you.

1. You arrive and fill in a health questionnaire to ensure there is no reason you cannot give blood. If you are unsure a nurse or doctor will have a quick chat with you.
2. You have a pin prick test to ensure you have plenty of haemaglobin (the part of blood which carries the oxygen) because if you run a little low normally it's not a good idea to take more! (If you really want to give blood, try eating red things form tomatoes to steaks!
3. You get to lie down on the rather comfy seats (well they are rather comfy at the West End Donation Centre!)
4. A blood pressure cuff is pumped up and yours veins are examined for the best one.
5. When one is found it's go time! The needle, which is only slightly larger than the one used to take blood for a blood test is gently inserted. Trust me when I say it is gentle. These are nice big veins and you hardly feel a thing. 
6. You sit for around 10 minutes, gently opening and closing your fist to keep the blood flowing
7. The needle is removed, a lovely plaster is applied and you lie quietly for a couple of minutes.
8. Time for tea and biscuits. Whoop.
9. Take it easy and feel like a good person

Please know that your blood is treasured. Whether it is given to a patient in dire need or to incredibly clever scientists and doctors. It is just so important. I cannot implore you to give blood any more. Although I have been known to bully people into giving blood so if I see you in the near future....

Perhaps if you are a little nervous pop in with a friend. A little hand holding and cuddles afterwards. It is good for the soul. Or if you fancy donating in a few weeks time I would happily come with you. How about we all go together? We can go for virgin cocktails afterwards. Ooo now that's a plan.

If you’re physically able to give blood do please try to make time, it can literally make you a lifesaver. We would love it if donating blood became a regular habit for you, something that is done on a regular basis without giving it a second thought. If you can’t donate then please continue this campaign by asking all those you know who can to make an appointment – ask them to do it now… today, not when they get round to it. 

If you feel that you are ready to donate blood, please go to the Give Blood website to find your nearest blood donor session. I have an amazing friend Nikki (who creates rather sweet stationery with Tickled Pink) who donates every month. If she can do it once a month, you can do it once a year.

The blood service put it best, 
"You won’t miss it when you give it; but patients could miss it if you don’t. Do something amazing and save or improve up to three lives by giving blood."

Go on do something amazing. Please.

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