Blood donation, platelet donation, and the All Blood Is Red campaign

Recently I gave my first blood donation of the year. I’ve been donating blood regularly since the late nineties when I was working for Hampshire Ambulanc and the blood van used to visit. Lately I have been visiting St George Community Centre on St George Park in Bristol to donate. The team there are lovely and really look after you well.

In the past I have given platelet donations but have not done so in a while. At my recent blood donation I was tested for suitability for platelet donations. The good news is I am suitable and am looking forward to donating platelets again soon.

A platelet donation is different to the usual whole blood donation. You are connected to a machine for around and hour and half while they draw your blood, spin it through the machine to collect the platelets, then pump your blood back in again. Platelets are small cells that help with clotting and are incredibly useful for patients with leukaemia and patients recovering from major surgery. You can find out more about platelets at the website.

Did you know that there is a discriminatory ban on homosexual men giving blood? Currently homosexual men must abstain from sex for 12 months before they can give blood. This does not seem fair or just to me! The All Blood Is Red campaign is aiming to change this. There will be a review of this policy and hopefully the decision will be made to change things for the better.