I heard a story while I was giving plasma this week about an 11-month-old baby who's had 19 transfusions in their short little life.
Take a second to think about that.
That's a transfusion every three weeks, for your whole life so far. Can you even imagine how tormenting that would be for an infant, let alone their parents?
On the other hand, other people's blood is keeping that wee tot alive.
When you donate blood or plasma you have a couple of blood tests that will get done from your blood before it's accepted. They're basic screening tests.
There was a lady who was giving blood herself, somewhere in New Zealand, got a call from the blood service afterwards asking her to come in for another blood test.
Long story short, they picked up bowel cancer in her. It would never have been found that early if she hadn't been donating blood and just having a regular blood test for basically no reason. Sometimes giving blood saves the life of the donor too, it seems!
It can take as little as 15 minutes to donate blood. A bit longer for giving plasma; I was there for about an hour all up. It's a longer process because they take some of your blood, spin it in a centrifuge and separate the plasma out and then pump the blood back in.
Don't worry, it's painless! It's actually just a good forced chill out. I paid some bills online.
Plasma is the part of the blood, golden in colour, that contains clotting, immune and other proteins. Plasma can be used basically across any blood type, for anything from trauma patients who have lost a lot of blood, to complications during childbirth, to making a bunch of different cancer treatments. It's liquid gold for so many people.
The nurses there are just some of the best people ever. If you want to chat they'll chat the whole time, if you want to chill and be left to your own devices that's cool with them too.
It's kind of like a chat at a hair salon, but what you're doing could save a life!
I chatted to one of the nurses for ages about her teenage daughter learning to drive (nightmare), refusing to stack the dishwasher (nightmare) and going to her school ball (tan-fake-lash-mare). What I'm saying is they are experts in taking your mind off it, if the thought of needles and blood makes you a little squeamish.
Over the peak summer period ... yeah they have 'peak' donation periods. Maybe it's because we're warm blooded, so when it's hot we feel like we will do anything to cool down, like getting rid of some blood?
Okay, so, I failed biology. Clearly.
Anyway, over peak times they are putting a needle in 30 people a day each. So if anyone is going to make putting a needle in you painless, it's them!
But it's not peak time. They are in desperate need of plasma and your blood at the NZ Blood Service in Tauranga. From what you've just read it'll definitely save someone else's life ... and might just save yours!
— Will Johnston is the local 9am-3pm host for The Hits Bay of Plenty 95FM. He's also a celebrant and MC. Follow Will on Instagram on @radiowill.