Some of you like me, may have noticed over the last week or two, that the NHS has a massive blood drive campaign on called #BleedForEngland.The campaign caught my eye not Just because of its rather witty marketing, but because of the compelling message behind it and because of a very recent, very personal and moving first hand experience.
A few weeks ago my father almost died. Quite suddenly, but not completely unexpectedly. It was very “touch and go” as the doctor put it, and if it wasn’t for two life saving blood transfusions that he received, I’m not sure he would still be here with us today. That experience gave me a real appreciation not only of the NHS, but of the men and women who selflessly donate blood. That situation could have ended very differently if the blood that he needed there and then was not available. Worst still, if the specific blood type he needed was not available. So if something as small as me donating blood can help prevent that being a possibility for someone else then I feel I have a responsibility to give blood and give back, just as someone else did so that my father could live. The decision to give blood feels like a very personal one, and so I would never want to make anyone reading this feel like they should if it is something they are uncomfortable with. But I would hope that anyone reading this that hasn’t considered or thought about giving blood before, or has but like me just never had the impetus to actually go ahead and do it, reads this and is encouraged and compelled by the difference that they can personally make to the life of someone else.
For me personally, having my father go through that experience made me realise that it could have just as easily been any other family member, friend or myself in that very vulnerable and scary position. So yesterday evening I decided to finally register as a blood donor and booked myself in at my nearest donation centre. It was very quick and easy to do, and there are plenty of places, dates and times you can go to give blood. For anyone still undecided, here are a few hard hitting stats from the Give Blood website:
1. Only 4% of adults are donors
2. Each blood donation can help as many as 3 people
3. 100 donations equates to 47 litres of blood
4. B blood is rare. Only 2% of the population has type B blood
5. Only 9% of donors live in greater London
6. 8% of donors are donating for the first time
If you would like to register or find out more, go to the Give Blood website or check out the hashtag #BleedForEngland #MissingType or #giveblood on Twitter for more information.