It’s World Blood Donor Day and National Blood Week and I’m writing to implore more of you to go and give blood. You get biscuits! You can choose between Custard Creams (my favourites, Bourbon’s, orange Club biscuits or Digestives AND you get orange, lemon or blackcurrant squash! It’s sooo worth it.
Do you know your blood type?
NHS Blood have launched a new campaign to get more people knowing their blood type. Do you know yours? Some blood types are needed more than others and if you know your blood type, they can make sure people in need have the right blood at the right time. I’m A+ and I know that because it’s the first time I’ve ever had an A+ in anything!
I started giving blood a few years ago – not for entirely altruistic reasons I have to admit. I was diagnosed with hemochromatosis (impossible to spell) which is when you have too much iron in your blood for your body to cope with. It’s genetic apparently and whilst my two brothers are fine I managed to pick up a wonky gene from both parents. Anyway, as long as it’s found in time, it’s easily managed. They just have to remove some of your blood every few months. It seemed ridiculous to me that my blood was then thrown away instead of put into someone else’s body when required. Surely someone would appreciate some iron heavy, Popeye type of blood? I had to go through hoops to get approved to be a blood donor via my consultant but eventually it worked and so now I’m a BRONZE blood donor.
It’s really an incredibly uplifting experience and I honestly should have started doing it years ago when it was simply all about ensuring we kept our blood stocks up. There are people from all walks of life (much more noble than me) who give up their time and their blood for free. Every time I’ve been to my chosen venue, there are many people happily waiting their turn to be pricked and prodded. Once you’ve donated they send you texts telling you where your blood is going to. It makes it much more personal and important somehow.
I’ve been asked to give my plasma now – I had a call yesterday. It takes 75 minutes, which is probably double the time it takes to take your blood and not give it back, because with plasma they apparently remove your blood, whizz it around a machine to extract the plasma and then put the blood back inside me. What does that mean exactly though? I’m not sure whether it takes longer to redevelop the plasma or indeed what it’s used for – anyone else know?