“Blood donors are being urged to come forward and save lives following a stark decline in givers. NHS Blood and Transplant says the number of people becoming donors and giving blood for the first time in England decreased by 24.4% in 2015 compared to 2005. It believes reasons for the drop include fear of needles, lack of awareness of the process and people having less time to give in an increasingly busy world.”
BLOODY HELL! I haven’t been quite as excited by an advertisement calling for blood donors since New Zealand politely told me ‘No thanks’ because they thought I was a mad cow.
Please, dear reader, while I can imagine your automatic response (“Well, if the cap fits. . .”) I should reassure you that this was not the only thing they were worried about. Fifteen years ago, following the outbreak of Mad Cow Disease in Europe, the NZ Blood Service deemed the possibility of me frothing at the mouth to be of concern to millions of good, clean Kiwis.
We were told: “If you lived in the UK, France or the Republic of Ireland between 1st January 1980 and 31st December 1996 for a total period of 6 months or more (or received a blood transfusion in these countries at any time after 1/1/80) you will be permanently deferred from donating blood in NZ.”
So normal rules were reversed. In New Zealand you really could get blood from an Estonian, just not from a Pom! So once back in Britain to look after my ailing mum and dad I leapt at the opportunity to register with the U.K. Blood Service and make an appointment to donate at my local miners’ community centre.
I was excited. Just for fun, I watched Tony Hancock’s Blood Donor sketch on YouTube and was astonished to consider how much longer today is the list of ‘certain social diseases’ Hancock was asked to contemplate before giving his ‘armful’.
In the days that followed, the Blood Service rang and left voicemail messages telling me how delighted they were to have me back, how much they were looking forward to seeing me again. It was like re-acquainting with an old friend! By this time, I was almost beside myself with excitement.
On the day, lots of water to drink (500ml. . .gulp!), a bed on which take my ease followed by my free cuppa, to which was added orange juice, some chocolate and a macaroon. Eat your heart out, Mr Hancock!
Anyway, I’ve booked another session as soon as they’ll let me (four months time). And I can’t wait.
Giving blood has honestly been one of the highlights of my homecoming so far. The Blood Service really make you feel truly valued as a donor. If you don’t donate already, PLEASE consider doing so by connecting here.
It’s the ultimate feel-good factor!