Why I donated blood

I donated blood yesterday; for the first time since high school, I was able to actually give blood.  This is the first year in a long time I’ve not been tattooed in 12 months, or pierced, or travelled to an exotic destination that required a heap of inoculations that deemed me ineligible.

Some or most of you will have seen the recent “Missing Letters Campaign” in a drive to promote Blood Donation in the UK, with the letters A, O and B disappearing from place names, shop names, and social media.  Sadly there has been a significant decline in new donors, and soon demand might exceed existing supplies of blood for those who need it.  I have to admit I was confused for a couple days why some of my friends seemed to be missing half their names on Twitter, but now I’d like to share why I wanted to donate.

Last year, a good friend of mine was in a pretty horrific accident.  I remember going out with a group of friends for a birthday night out; we were all pretty merry and stayed up well into the next day partying, but G went to bed straight after the club in a bit of a bad mood.  There were a couple guys at the party who were randoms, and thoughout the night managed to offend a few of us girls with their inappropriate comments and general aggressiveness.  By the time we all decided to leave for mine the next evening, there was only one of these guys left at the party.

G must have felt bad for him, or the guy convinced G to give him a lift home.  That’s where the details got a bit hazy; a few hours later there was no sign of him, and we were getting worried.  A few more hours passed, and still no word.  Then one of the boys got a phone call from someone who’d been at the party and also lived in Gorgie; on his way home he’d seen a green Kawasaki Ninja had been in an accident, and though he couldn’t see the rider’s face, he was sure he recognised the very distinctive leathers from the party.   Whoever had been on the bike, and his passenger, were in pretty bad shape.  And they had lost a lot of blood.

They say sometimes the importance of helping people or thinking of others than yourself doesn’t come to light until something hits close to home, and they’re right.  I try to be a nice person, a good person, but I know I don’t do nearly as much as I could.  I know that if it weren’t for all the people who had gone and given their time, and essentially a piece of themselves, my friend might not be here today.

I might sound sentimental and sappy, but I’ve been thinking a lot this past year that for every person who goes and donates a part of themselves, there is probably another person like G who needed it.

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