I LIVE in the UK with a second home in France. I’m 66 and have been giving blood since I was 21.
I have the top award card for number of donations. The only times when I couldn’t give were when pregnant, breast-feeding, or a period when my blood count was sometimes just below the required level. I intend to go on till they tell me I can no longer give.
When I worked in an office, a colleague’s moth- er sadly died in her 50s of BSE, a very rare occurrence. My friend and I used to go to donation sessions together after work. Since then she can no longer give blood.
If the gestation period for BSE is so long, there must be others who have yet to show the symptoms. But I’ve never hidden any information or been told not to give blood.
If I’d not been allowed to donate for 16 years, according to the French restriction you describe (in an article on the www.connexionfrance.com website), how much less use I would have been to sick and injured people!
I don’t think of giving blood in France because of the gap needed between donations for the sake of my own health, as the nurses tell me is necessary, but have often been tempted when I’ve seen a ‘Don du Sang’ poster. Now I know they wouldn’t take my blood anyway.
Funny how my blood is dangerous in France but not in the UK.
I’ll continue donating in Britain and try to encourage others to do so.
It doesn’t take much time or effort if you are organised and healthy, it’s not painful, and makes you feel you’re doing something more definite to help others than put- ting a coin or two into a collecting box.
Jane CLARE, by email