another form of donation

A few days ago my fellow Scibloggers & I had a bit of a discussion around blood donations (as part of a wider discussion of issues relating to the disastrous earthquake in CHristchurch on Tuesday 22 February). While at present the Blood Service isn’t calling for extra donors, I thought I’d write another post on donation anyway – we need 3100 donations each & every week (700 of those in my local region, the Waikato) to keep up with normal demand, & a quick look around those reclining on couches round our local donor centre would indicate that the average donor isn’t getting any younger. So there’s a need for new blood (excuse the dreadful pun) & with the Blood Service on campus this week I thought it would be good to draw attention to that. (And a big ‘thank you!’ to all our students who have gone along to the Rec Centre & rolled up their sleeves for the cause.)

Every blood donation is an act that has the potential to touch a number of lives. My siblings & I were enormously grateful to the unknown donors whose simple, caring act helped provide the blood that improved my mother’s quality of life during her (mercifully brief) battle with cancer. The memory of that is one of the reasons that I became a regular donor myself. And other donors gave the blood that my elderly father-in-law needed as a ‘top-up’ during major surgery earlier this week. (He might actually have ended up with some of my platelets – but of course I’ll never know.)

So, if you’re ever considered the possibility of giving blood – take the next step. Contact the New Zealand Blood Service and talk to them to see if you meet the criteria. At the cost of maybe 30 minutes of your time every 3 months or so (for whole-blood donors) you can make a real difference to the lives of others.

7 thoughts on “another form of donation”

  • I echo Alison’s comments on Blood Donations! While some who read this blog might be too far away to donate for Christchurch (like me), everyone that can donate should do so on a regular basis. I have been donating for years, from whole blood, which you can donate about every 8 weeks, to platelets, which you can donate every 7 days. It’s an important activity that takes just a tiny bit of your time.
    I don’t know about NZ, but at my local Community Blood Center I get an email when they have used my donation and while they don’t give out patient names, they usually do tell me why the patient needed blood. Everything from cancer, luekemia, car accidents, and even fire victims. One day I walked in, they practically dragged me to the Aphresis machine (for plasma and/or platelet donation) because they needed platelets for a child that had been in an auto accident just that morning and I was the right match. You have no idea how that will make you feel!
    So, if you read this, please donate soon, and make donating a regular part of your year.
    Thanks,
    Ted
    Ted Herrlich
    [email protected]
    http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com

  • Marcus Wilson says:

    It’s fair to say I hate needles, especially the ones that go into veins as opposed to just into your skin (i.e. vaccinations I can cope with, blood tests see me panicking – just writing this is horrible enough.) So I have never given blood (shame on me). The earthquake has prompted me though to consider whether I might manage to do it. However, a trip to the NZ Blood Donor website tells me I’m not eligible, having lived in the UK in the 80’s and 90’s Why is this? Doesn’t it exclude a vast number of potential donors? I’d be allowed to donate in the UK (not that I have done) so why not NZ?

  • Alison Campbell says:

    It’s to do with ‘mad cow disease’ aka bovine spongiform encephalitis. Since a fairly substantial proportion of the UK population has already been exposed, maybe there’s less concern about the potential for donors to spread it around? Whereas we don’t have this particular problem in NZ & would prefer to keep it that way. (I’m not for one moment suggesting that you might turn into a mad cow, Marcus!)

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    People in the Blood Service were gun-shy after the bad publicity and lawsuits when they failed to bring in screening of blood for Hep-C. They decided to cover themselves this time by banning donations from anyone exposed to BSE, despite the lack of evidence that prion diseases can be spread that way, or that the UK-dwelling donors have an elevated risk for BSE.
    There is one theory that they will eventually relax the ban and admit that they made a mistake. I am not so sanguine.

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    Being barred from the Blood Service also prevents one from signing up as a bone-marrow donor so I also miss out on the even more desirable experience of a power drill into the hipbone.

  • Alison Campbell says:

    I was wondering about signing up for that, actually. I would only be ‘good’ for a few years (given my advancing years) but still… (I view my blood donations as a form of community service; this would just be more of the same.)

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