This is a post about giving blood and how awesome it is, and how important it is and how I genuinely find it difficult to accept people's totally lame excuses for not doing it.
I first went to give blood when I was at uni in Manchester. And I couldn't even tell you why I went. There was a drop in centre in town and I just decided to go along, mainly because I was feeling nosy about what blood type I was.
My first donation did not go well. The blood basically just stopped coming out of my veins. I was asked to clench and unclench my fist, I thought happy thoughts, I did everything but my body gave up half a pint and then decided that was it. I was told that it was probably enough for them to run their tests and type my blood and I should come again next time and just see what happened.
I've never looked back.
I've had a couple of breaks - one when I was on Warfarin for my embolism - but I've mostly kept up a steady appearance meaning that today I donated my 19th pint of blood.
(I did think about waiting until I'd donated my 20th pint for this post but I just couldn't wait that long I'm afraid.)
Once I was settled in Tiny Town I got myself set up again to start going regularly and decided to take selfies each time I donated to document my little journey. I was so mad that I never thought of doing it before, how flippin' cool would it be to have a whole lifetime of giving blood selfies?
Really cool is the answer.
I find it really sad that when I go I am quite often one of the youngest people there in whatever local sports hall I'm attending. The majority of people there to donate seem to be in the 40s-50s bracket and I very very rarely see someone who looks like they could be 17, the age at which are you are allowed to donate.
When I talk about it at work and ask if other people donate the answer is always a resounding no and when I ask people why I'm greeted by a wall of awkward silence.
The awkward silence is there because there just aren't many good reasons for not giving blood. I feel like I am, on the whole, a fairly reasonable person. But this is a subject that makes me absolutely lose my mind, because I just simply cannot understand why, if you are fit and healthy and don't have a complete massive phobia of needles, you don't donate.
It takes so little time. It is virtually painless (I'm not going to say totally painless because, you know, it's a needle in your arm) and you are saving lives. Seriously. You are saving lives. Every time you donate a pint of blood that is used to save a life - it either goes to help someone who is near death, or a small percentage may go to a lab for scientists to undertake tests which help further research, which, guess what? Saves lives.
Why on earth would you turn down the opportunity to feel that good?
We're not talking about running into burning buildings to save children. This doesn't endanger your life at all and you can feel so so good about yourself.
It is even more important to give blood because there are so many people who can't. Seriously the restrictions are hefty. They have to be when you're putting blood in other peoples' bodies I guess. The CJD crisis saw more restrictions put in place which means that now, every time blood is used to save someone's life, that means there is one more person who isn't able to donate.
Kind of ironic really.
I know that you're busy and I know that you have other things that you could do with your time. I know that you think that loads of people give blood so what does it matter if you don't. I know that it seems like a hassle to make the effort to ring up to make an appointment. I know that it feels a bit icky and gross to be in a room full of people who are having blood taken out of them.
But you still have to do it.
Because you are actually saving lives. People would die if there wasn't blood there for them. You know Heather? She wouldn't be here if people didn't donate blood. She lost so much blood when she was having Tiny Tin Bird that she had to have a transfusion. My Mum wouldn't be alive either. She lost so much blood during her radical hysterectomy that she had to have a transfusion. If people didn't go and give blood that's just two people who simply would not be here.
Stop and think about that for just a second. Just one, small second.
And then tell me how you can have any excuse not to go?
(Also you get free biscuits when you go. You have to sit down and eat biscuits before they'll allow you to leave. I mean, why would you not go?)
For more information on Giving Blood, including the ability to make appointments online as well as more amazing stories about the lives that have been saved, you just need to click here.
Here's an idea - Find out where your next and nearest session is and take some people with you? Get together in a little group - take a mate, take a couple of mates, get your work colleagues together and go and donate and then go out for dinner afterwards (although no alcohol, yeah?) . What better excuse to have a massive burger/pizza/curry/[insert favourite food] than that you've just given blood and need to "keep your blood sugar up."?