I know. Very Earnest.
I can't help it. It comes, I think, from a religious upbringing and the feeling that I should in some way give thanks for still being a standy-uppy-walking-about person.
Recently I had a piece of good fortune and was casting about for a charity and just then, blow-me-down, wouldn't-ya-know-it, the Red Cross knocked on my door just as I was about to go into a meeting. I asked for a sign up form that I could post or that they could come back for, but they wouldn't give me one and they wouldn't leave. In desperation, I made the wrong connection and told them that 'Sorry, I'd rather just give blood'.
There it was. Out. Of course, five minutes later I realised that the Red Cross actually don't take blood any more, it's the National Blood Service but I'd committed now, so I registered to give blood and yesterday found myself lying down while a lovely man shoved a drainpipe into my arm and relieved me of a pint of blood.
OK, I exaggerate a smidge.
First, you fill in a form which excludes probably 30% of the population for safety's sake. Then they take a drop of your blood and test it to see if you actually have enough red blood cells to spare. I was borderline meaning they had to take more blood and test it in a machine before they let me do it for real.
So, two needles in and I was getting all cocky about it - I hadn't felt any pain, my blood was good to go... it wasn't until the third and final needle was partway in that I registered that this wasn't the itsy bitsy mosquito needles they give you at the phlebotomy clinic. Oh no. Thinking about it is still giving me muscle squinges and yet... and yet it didn't hurt at all after the first poke. I didn't feel anything in fact and I've already signed up to do it again in March.
The chap who took my blood has donated 40 of his own pints over the years and says he's never gotten used to the needles, but I think that the key thing is that he keeps on doing it.
Blood stocks are low and only 4% of the population actually donate. The National Blood Service website shows that there are less than 5 days stocks left of blood types B negative and O negative in the UK and I was told that A and O are the types most in demand.
I reckon it wouldn't take much effort for another 1% of the population to step up. If I can do it (I am a needle-phobe of the highest order - I had my baby at home with no drugs rather than face the possibility of an epidural; I am notorious at my dentist for having fillings with no anaesthetic); anyone can do it.
OK. I've said my bit.