The Importance of Donating Blood

Man doth not live by law alone. Ok, I have misquoted Jesus Christ for my own purposes. Our Lord was no great lover of lawyers – or scribes as he would have called them/us, but we are not all bad. In fact very few are actually rotten apples, and no more than in any other organisation of men and women.

This blog is not to blow anyone’s trumpet. Lawyers are as public-spirited as any other decent folk. But in this Coronavirus crisis, we all need to step up to the mark. Whether it’s helping out vulnerable neighbours, shopping for elderly locals, doing charitable work, or community assistance in supporting the NHS and other social care efforts, no good deed goes unneeded.

My contribution last week was to give blood. I am one of those in the minority of the population with O Rhesus negative blood, which can be used to treat people of all groups. Conversely if I were run over by a bus in Fenwick Road as I leave the office, I can only receive blood from another O neg donor…. hence I look both ways, observing both the Green Cross Code and Tufty Club advice. I am one of five siblings, but the only one with this particular tin of soup in my veins. My late mother had O neg, and was a donor through her adult life, getting all the badges going for the many dozens of donations she gave.

I started giving when at university. A mobile unit came to the Union and we all went forward. One pal fainted, another was anaemic, but they got a goodly vat of blood from the freshers that day. I have been a donor more or less ever since, and stepped it up after my Mum died, so I give each time in remembrance of her. A couple of years ago I earned my gold badge for 50 pints.

Not everyone can donate. For health or anaemia reasons, or history of travel in certain places in the world, it’s not a given that you can give. But for those who can, my message is: find out more, contact the Blood Donation Service and make an appointment. There is nothing to fear. Yes, there is a little needle jab in the arm in front of your elbow, but the staff in the service are incredibly skilled. I told the lady who dealt with me last week that she wielded her needle like a Stradivarius. The whole process is efficient, and I’ll be honest, lying for 20 minutes doing nothing is the most relaxation I get these days.  Once you have done your bit, there is a cold drink and a biscuit – which gives me my excuse to grab a TUC cheesy wafer biscuit which I am not allowed at home.

So that’s it today. Stocks of blood are needed now more than ever, not just O negative but all groups. It’s about bloody time!

Austin makes his donation

Austin makes his donation

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