I donated blood yesterday, for the second time ever.
The first time was just about a year ago. Spurred on partially by Jeremy and partially by the National Blood Service TV ads (god, that music—I was welling up just listening to it on the website), I finally overcame my complacency and trundled down to Hove Town Hall to donate a pint.
I admit, I was a bit nervous. I’m not particularly squeamish about needles or blood, but I don’t especially like to be jabbed and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the whole procedure. As it turned out, it was absolutely fine; all the “donor carers” were gentle and reassuring, and frankly, they make you feel like a bit of hero for being willing to donate at all. Plus, you get tea and biscuits afterwards—yay!
Between going to Thailand in February and then traveling back and forth to the States throughout the year, Jeremy and I couldn’t donate again until this month (because of the risk of malaria from Thailand and West Nile virus from the States). But yesterday, after a fortifying lunch at E-Kagen, we headed over to the donation session for our second round of bloodletting.
After it was over, Jeremy said that the whole thing had restored his faith in humanity, and while it may sound funny, I have to agree. You see an entire cross-section of the population at these donation sessions; yesterday there was a big guy with tattoos (which he must have gotten a long time ago or else he couldn’t have donated), a kid in a hoodie, older men and women, people who had clearly just nipped out from the office, a hip couple in their 20s… It was a little snapshot of Brighton, and I wondered what had prompted each person to come and donate. Whatever the reason, the important thing was that they were there, voluntarily giving a part of themselves to help someone else.
If you can donate blood and you don’t faint at the sight of a needle, I would really encourage you to do it. You’ll feel good about yourself, you’ll feel good about your fellow citizens, and you’ll be saving someone’s life.