Every day in our list of suggested activities for you to do, the top one is always donate blood. Londonist's Lindsey is a regular donor but this writer has always nursed a particular fear of needles — school vaccination days were a delight. But we know that giving blood is one of the most useful things you can do with your time. Blood is not only needed for trauma patients and surgery, it's used in bone marrow and chemotherapy treatments, during complications in labour and to give relief to the terminally ill.
So a combination of guilt, and having recently had a series of blood tests done in a dedicated phlebotomy clinic (where we learned the valuable lesson that when people take blood all day every day, they get very good at it and it barely hurts), made us decide to donate for the first time. You may think we did it on camera as extra incentive to not bottle out; we couldn't possibly comment. We'd also recommend going with a friend as it really helped calm our nerves.
Our film follows us through the process of giving blood at the West End Donor Centre on Margaret Street, and hand on heart it was nowhere as scary as we'd feared. If you're feeling brave enough to do the same, you can register via the website. If you're from a Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority community then you're particularly in demand: just 4% of donors are non-white, and blood groups B+ and O+ are more prevalent in non-white ethnic groups. So find a session near you and book yourself in. It's fine. Really, it's fine.