I'm really gutted I can't give blood. It was one of my New Year Resolutions this year that I would give blood, lose weight, and learn to speak Spanish. So far, I have achieved my weight loss and started learning Spanish at home with a private tutor. Everything was going hunky dory until I needed to cancel some lessons due to some family commitments ( Dad had his knee operation). My teacher was then off for Maternity leave and although she is now back working again I have not booked any more lesson as I just cannot commit myself to "anything" at the moment until my brother-in-law is back home and settled.
After my last spinal operation (some 9 years ago) I had to have a blood transfusion and ever since then I have vowed I would join the list of blood donors. Then after hearing that my brother-in-law also needed a blood transfusion after his operation it promoted me to finally get it sorted. So, off I popped yesterday, eager to give my blood at last when the nurse gave me the bad news that I couldn't give any. "Why?" you say, well its all because I have had a blood transfusion 9 years ago and it is possible that I could be carrying Variant CJD from it.
It wasn't until December 2003 that evidence came to light that a blood donor may have transmitted vCJD to a patient via a blood transfusion. Scientists are not 100% sure that this is the case as it is still possible that both donor and patient separately acquired vCJD by eating contaminated beef. Even so, in the light of this case donors who have received blood in the UK since 1st January 1980 ( the date BSE became present in the UK food chain) to stop giving blood. People who have received blood since 1980 now belong to a large group that together has a potentially slightly higher risk of exposure to vCJD than the general population. At the moment they are saying it will be OK to give blood after 20 years have passed since my transfusion or if a test comes out that can see if you have it.
What this has meant is that many thousands of blood donors will have to stop giving blood for the time being. Over the coming months and years, this will add up to an enormous number of donations that will be desperately missed. (Medical Fact file August 2004 - National Blood Service)
So, you lot out there - if you haven't given blood yet then please do, you never know when you might need it.