Ready to lend a hand, or even give an armful

I’m not a first time donor, and there are thousands of other long-standing donors out there.

But there are also millions of eligible people who, for one reason or another, have never given blood.

Now, it is obviously everyone’s right to make their own decision, but if you, or a loved one, or a friend was ever injured and needed blood urgently, would you expect it to be available? And would you regret that you never did it when you had the chance?

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With the Olympics on the horizon, the National Blood and Transplant Service is really pushing to get more donors on board as it is believed there could be shortage this summer.

It’s a simple process, takes no time at all, and can help save lives.

I popped down to the blood mobile in Sainsbury’s car park in Apsley to donate again, but this time I dragged two of my colleagues – both first time donors – along with me.

I donate because it’s easy, quick, and could save a life.

Even minor operations can require donated blood for a patient and this need can rise dramatically in the case of a medical emergency.

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My logic is that if I was ever injured and needed a supply of blood to survive then it’s only fair that I donate now, when I am fit and able to do so.

News editor Victoria West gave blood for the first time during our visit to the ‘blood mobiles’ in Apsley.

She said: “It was fine in the end, but the wait made me very nervous.

“The staff were wonderful, and it was all over very quickly.

“I would definitely do it again.”

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She’s have to go some to catch up with Heather Powell, who works in Hemel Hempstead Old Town and has donated blood 54 times.

She has been a registered organ donor since she was 18, and started giving blood when she was 30.

Now 59, Heather is still keen on rolling up her sleeve three times a year, the maximum number for women.

She said: “I thought that being on the organ donor register was the most amazing thing, and giving blood was the next step from there.

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“I find that drinking red wine works for me, it’s good for the blood cells. In fact anything with iron in it is good for a regular blood donor.

“One of the best things is that now, once you’ve registered to give blood, you can find out online what they actually do with your blood.

“It’s also your own personal free health check.

“A sample gets tested every time you donate, and can reveal any medical issues.

“All sorts of people have had their life saved because a serious medical condition was picked up on after they gave blood.

“This is especially true with cases of bowel cancer.”