The Concerned Bloggers Association would, this month, like to encourage you to give blood. Faced with this month's topic, I floundered a little. The simple fact is, shamefully, that I have never given blood.
There are reasons. In the UK, at least, there are regulations regarding gender, age and weight, and until fairly recently, I did not tick all of the right things in all of the right boxes with regards to those. I also suffer sometimes with anaemia, and that means I can't necessarily give blood. My iron count is a law unto itself.
But I am also afraid of giving blood. I am not, generally speaking, a squeamish person (too many horror movies!), but I don't like needles, and I cannot watch the nurse draw blood from my arm for a test. It doesn't make me sick or pass-out, or anything like that, but I think there is something fundamentally wrong about the idea of my blood being outside of my body, and it makes me feel desperately uncomfortable.
The only thing wrong here, though, would be letting that fear stop me. Giving blood is important, and who knows - one day I might need a whole lot of someone else's blood myself, and if everybody was too afraid to donate, where would I be then? Several members of my family give/have given blood. On a couple of occasions, too, I believe, they have needed it.
On top of that, it is possible that I have a rare blood type. My father has, though my mother hasn't - and apparently that is not a concern because, if anything happened to me or my brothers, we could be given whatever type of blood it is that my mother has. However, if the three of us have the same rare type of my father, there is even more of an imperative, I think, to give blood. The demand might not be so high, but the stock of it must be lower.
According to the NHS Give Blood website, 96% of us in England and North Wales rely on the other 4% to give blood. That doesn't really seem right, does it?
If, like me, you are a little bit scared of the process, or you just want to find out more, that website is really useful. There is a virtual tour of what happens when you go to give blood, as well as information about finding out where and when you can donate, and what happens to your blood once it has been donated. There is also a whole wealth of information about your safety, the checks they do to make sure you really are eligible, and the care you can expect to receive.
It really does seem to be quite easy, though - you talk to the nurse, sit down, give blood, have a cup of tea and a biscuit, and go home. Simple as. If they think you are healthy enough to do it, why not?
So come on. If I can be brave and build myself up to this, so can you.
'Do something amazing. Give blood'.
This Public Service Announcement was brought to you by the Concerned Bloggers' Association. If you would like to become involved, please contact Marleen Vaughan for more information.