I have a phobia of blood. Silly, when I am a female with monthly female cycles (well, nine-weekly, thanks to running my pill back to back).
The first time I realised I had a phobia of blood, I was working in a nursery and a kid had a nose bleed. Prior to this, blood had just been one of those things that other people dealt with. But when it was my turn to step up to the plate, I freaked out.
A few years later, I tried to donate blood to help get me over this ridiculous phobia. But as I walked into the donation centre, I started to freak out. The relief when they told me they had no spaces was overwhelming. I think what freaked me out the most was how sterile and clinical it all seemed, despite being held in a school hall.
I had to have my blood taken last year to test for coeliac disease. I have the kind of veins that refuse to pop out, and it took the seasoned nurse a fair few times to get the blood to actually flow. So long as I didn’t look at what was going on, I was fine, but the experience still freaked me out.
But this phobia and my failure to donate blood has always annoyed me. I want to be able to donate blood, but I just cannot man up enough to do it. When I accepted I was never going to be able to psych myself up enough to be a blood donor, I registered as an organ donor instead. At least I was doing something.
Which is why I am still shocked that I found myself signing up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register yesterday morning. What prompted this outpouring of selflessness? match4lara. She is a 24 year old of mixed heritage, who needs a stem cell transplant due to leukaemia. Reading the blog of a girl with cystic fibrosis, Tor, prompted me to sign up to be an organ donor. Reading about Lara did the same.
I guess the thing about being a stem cell donor is that you know that you are directly saving a life that a lot of people couldn’t help. It’s not like being able to receive type O blood, but about having someone who is a genetic match help you out. The fact that 90% of white Britons will find a match whilst only 40% of ethnic minorities will is awful. I can’t help on the ethnic minority front, being white British (with a hint of Italian), but every little helps, as they say!
So, if you’re between he ages of 16-30 and feeling generous, why not sign up over at Anthony Nolan and try to conquer your phobias like me?