Before I start putting the case forward, I think it's only fair that I share my own limited experience with you. I've only actually given blood myself on one occasion to date, so I'm certainly not coming at this from the "I'm doing this - why don't you" point of view.
Quite honestly, I've always been extremely squeamish when it comes to medical matters, and particularly the sight of blood , so as you can imagine it took a great deal of self-coaxing to get me to the place where I was ready to go through with it.
In reality, once I'd got over my own anxieties it really was very straight forward. At the time I was living in Britain's second city, and I saw posters advertising a drop in centre not far from where I'd been at University.
They were really fantastic at settling the nerves - first a little pin prick test to confirm everything was ok and to get the blood type. Then just a case of sitting back on a bed, left arm strapped up and connected, two or three minutes as the blood was pumped through (during which I can honestly say I didn't feel a thing - even though I made a point of not looking at what was happening) and then it was all done and dusted.
Obviously as you are typically up to a pint of blood lighter, it's best to take it easy over the next 24 hours, especially in warm weather, and to stay off the alcohol during that time. There's plenty of tea and biscuits to get that extra bit of sugar in after the event.
As I've written here before, I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure, so clearly that puts me in one of the risk groups that aren't suitable for donation. Heavy drinkers, pregnant women , underweight and elderly are also precluded from giving blood.
Most people can give blood. If you are generally in good heath, age 17 to 65 (if it's your first time) and weigh at least 7st 12Ib you can donate. You can give blood every 16 weeks, that's approximately every four months.
I'm really hoping that once I've got through my latest check up ok, and the home BP monitor is certainly indicating that, I'll be able to sign up to give blood on a regular basis. Would certainly be nice to post an update to this blog on that front
When you think about it , this really is such a simple yet amazing thing to be able to give another human being the chance of life. So if you are thinking about it, and like me are based in the UK ,please take a look at the website.