14th June is World Blood Donor Day

It’s like paying tax on having good health…

… and paying tax isn’t always comfortable, but neither is having very poor health or being at risk of dying!

I’ve been giving blood for a few years now and I’m about to give my eighth donation. As someone who was born in the NHS, had my children in NHS hospitals and who has been in a few scrapes in between I feel like it is a way to show my appreciation and give something back.

I was able to give blood the first time as I was given time out by my employer to pop over to the blood bank in the city centre and to see if they had a free appointment. I was a bit scared as I have had some very uncomfortable experiences having blood samples taken in the past. Also I thought I might be ineligible as I had recently had a tattoo (and been in Africa when I was under fiver years old and all sorts of reasons) but I was assured that I met the criteria. It turns out a lot more people can now give blood than was the case in the past.

You can find out more about eligibility here: https://www.blood.co.uk/who-can-give-blood/can-i-give-blood/

Anyway I was treated very kindly by the staff and in honesty I felt fantastic after giving blood – a bit lightheaded and relaxed like you might feel after a celebratory lunch. I wasn’t allowed a free hot drink as this is not recommended on your first time but I was encouraged to relax and given lots of refreshments. The rest of my work day went by very comfortably.

A little while after giving blood I get a text message letting me know that my blood has reached a hospital and is helping people recover and may even help save a life. It is such a pick me up and always makes me day feels more worthwhile.

How blood was used in 2014, according to hospital usage:

  • 67% was used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer and blood disorders
  • 27% was used in surgery, including cardiac surgery and emergency surgery
  • 6% was used to treat blood loss after childbirth

I have type O blood – at least a third of blood donors have the same kind of blood as me… but for some patients and some conditions a very close match is needed. People from different ethnicities may have rarer blood types than me and so there is an additional importance in considering giving blood.

You can find out more about this here: https://www.blood.co.uk/why-give-blood/the-need-for-blood/black-asian-and-minority-ethnic-communities/

You can register online and book yourself into an appointment to try out this experience right now. Just go to https://my.blood.co.uk/Account/register.

Of course I know there are definitely colleagues in Touchstone who have already donated, if so please leave a comment as to how many donations you have made!

Written by Geraldine Montgomerie Greenwood

 

From the Other Side of the Blood Donation: one of the 6%

I regret that giving blood was not something I thought about in the past, then in 2012 I needed an emergency C-section with my son. I can honestly say that it was the most terrifying time of my life and (unknown to me at the time) I had severe internal bleeding and lost around half of my blood. I remember seeing an awful lot of bloodied dressings as I was being wheeled out of theatre holding my new baby and it did not register with me at the time that it was all my blood. Nor was I  fully aware of the impact that this had on my body or quite how much danger I had been in. I was lucky enough to receive blood from a donor and I am eternally grateful to everyone who donates. Unfortunately, having been a recipient of blood I am now unable to donate, as I found out at my local blood donor centre. I only wish that I could give some back! It is a truly wonderful thing to do and from the other side of the donation, THANK YOU!

Addition by Louise Aaron

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