I can’t watch surgery on TV. If anyone I know falls over and starts bleeding I go woozy. My first blood test I thought I was going to faint.
Yet, this week, I’m going to give blood.
Today is World Blood Donor Day, and this week is National Blood Week in the UK, where people who have never given blood are encouraged to sign up and donate a pint of their most needed bodily fluid.
In the UK only a tiny proportion of people eligible to give blood do so, the National Blood Service suggests that 96% of the population rely on the donations of just 4% of people who give blood.
Of course, there are people out there who are genuinely phobic of blood and needles and for them it would be dangerous to donate, and there are those who have conditions which stop them from donating.
But the fact is that most people in the population can give blood, and perhaps don’t realise how much donations are needed, or when and where they can give blood.
The procedure is pretty simple. You have to have a health check to make sure you are eligible, then a pin prick in your thumb to check you can donate. Then a nurse finds your vein and inserts a needle, and you can sit for a while squeezing your hand to make the blood drain faster.
After you have finished you get a sugary drink and a biscuit, and the majority of people will feel no different from when they enter the room.
You can even pre-book an appointment, really limiting the time it takes.
So, as you may have guessed, I’m quite a squeamish person. Giving blood wouldn’t exactly be high in my popular past times list.
But the fact is that without blood donations both me and my mum might not be here today- since she had complications whilst giving birth to me and had to have a blood transfusion.
If it wasn’t for the kind selfless donations of people simply taking an hour out of their time and donating just a pint of blood, my life would have been completely transformed from what it is today, and I might not even have been here.
It is the thought of really helping to save someone’s life, and that the act of giving blood is so easy to do, that makes me overcome my unease of donating.
I mean its one pint of blood three times a year! You won’t be missing it, but someone else really could well be.