In which I challenge Janathoners to give blood in January

A couple of days ago on Twitter, Running Dan declared his intention to be brave and start donating blood. Twitter being Twitter, lots of people turned round and said “it’s not that scary, go on, you know want to”, and so Dan rang the nice blood people and signed up to donate in January. Yay!

And then Sue said, “Have you got any friends that you can take along?”. So Dan (being one of those inspirational type people – have a look at his blog for his amazing fundraising efforts) is now rallying friends, family and strangers on Twitter to join him donating. Yay!

And then I said, “I wonder how many Janathon (or Jantastic) people we could persuade to part with a pint?”, Sue declared this to be great challenge and JogBlog said yes we could hijack Janathon to encourage people to do a tiny but amazing thing by giving blood. Yay!

Why is giving blood important? Well, the bare fact is that hospitals need 8000 units of blood a day and while the Blood Service takes 2.1 million donations from about 1.6 million donors, that’s only 4% of the population, giving two or three times a year. Blood stocks are particularly low over the festive season (particularly for blood types O- and B-) and the Blood Service is predicting that 2012 will see an even higher demand for blood than normal. If you have a look at @GiveBloodNHS on Twitter or the amazing stories on the Blood Service website, you’ll get a much better idea of why people donate and why it’s so important.

I’m lucky enough not to have a story for why I donate – I donate because I can. I’m fit and healthy, it doesn’t take long, it really doesn’t hurt and I can (and do) eat three custard creams guilt-free after I donate.

Dan will be donating on January 2nd. I will be donating on January 31st. It would be amazing if other Janathoners (there’s going to be at least 150 more of you out there) could donate (or if you can’t donate, encourage someone you know to donate) sometime between Dan and me.

It’s dead easy – visit www.blood.co.uk or ring the nice blood people on 0300 123 23 23 to find your local session and book an appointment. If you’re not sure if you can give blood, give them a ring.

When you’ve got your date, leave a comment below so we know who’s given up an armful and I’ll even see if we can rustle up a prize as even more of a bonus than just the warm glow of doing something good.

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