On donating blood

When I was at uni I used to donate blood.

Every 5 or so months I'd go, usually with friends, to the blood bank: chat with the friendly nurses, get my health checked, sit on a chair whilst this life-giving liquid poured down the narrow tube into the bag and then afterwards I'd sit and drink water. Chat some more.

It was fun.

The first time I went a friend got us there - five, six of us, all uni students. And second time, the same. The third time, I think, I went alone.

Four or five times I went altogether.

I used to have different cups in my cupboard, all "collected" from the blood bank - they used to say you can choose one each time you donate and so I kept collecting these cups. They were heavy, high-top, quality cups I loved drinking from and they reminded me of the importance of donating blood.

People all around the world need blood to get better. Car crashes, difficult childbirths, major surgeries - it is such a simple, important gesture without which a lot of lives would be different.

It is a gift.

It makes me sad to think that I cannot, any longer, donate my blood to other people who might need it. The medicine I take every day to keep my own levels stable makes it unsuitable for donating and so I watch other people donate and say a simple prayer so that the world knows that I'm here still and I'm thinking about it. I no longer reach out my arm in offer of this gift of life, but I'm proud of at least having done so when there was still time.

I don't know if it rules out any other forms of donation, but having thought of it today I might look it up, actually. What else is there even? Bone marrow?

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