Carol West

Carol first donated with her friend when she was 18 and has been donating for nearly 70 years.

CarolI first gave blood in December 1962. It started when a school friend, whose mother was a donor, asked if I was willing to go with her to donate once we were 18. I said yes but then forgot all about it!  

So, soon after our 18th birthdays, she called to say her mother was ready to take us to the session. As the age of majority then was 21, she said to bring a note from my mother, giving permission. I called up the stairs and my mother quickly replied, “It’s your blood, you do what you like with it!” Nevertheless, she did come down to write me the note.  

The donor staff were very kind and quick to apologise that I was too young to donate, but my friend was ok as her mother was with us. I sheepishly said I had a note from my mother. It was worth seeing the team’s faces when I told them. So, I did donate! 

(Picture: Carol at the award ceremony for her 100th donation)

I stay motivated to keep donating by the fact that there is no substitute for the real thing

Carol holding a ski trophyI have now given blood 141 times - the award ceremony for my 100th donation was wonderful. I intend to continue as long as possible and donate locally wherever there is a convenient session.   

I stay motivated to keep donating by the fact that there is no substitute for the real thing, human blood being uniquely special, especially as I am Rh negative. The fact that NHS Blood and Transplant tell you where your blood has gone to treat someone  is very morale boosting indeed. 

(Picture: Carol in 2020 holding a ski trophy)

To someone who is apprehensive about donating I would say, don’t be, it’s fine and you will feel good for helping others.