A family affair

Do you believe in love at first sight?

How about love at first donation? The first time David Arnold gave blood he got more than he bargained for. He was sat in the chair next to a regular donor named Angela. The two started talking and really hit it off.

David’s first donation was a success, but he missed the opportunity to ask for Angela’s number.

The Arnold family in the 1990s
The Arnold family in the 1990s

Thankfully for them, that wasn’t the end of the story, as their daughter, Alice, explains:

"Dad knew Mum worked at the local council and would go and look for her car, wanting to leave a piece of paper with his phone number under her windshield.

"Then one day, he saw her driving in the opposite direction, so he turned around and managed to catch up with her to give her the piece of paper himself.

"They still have that paper to this day!"

I have managed to encourage quite a lot of people to start donating blood, it’s just so important

Today, more than 30 years after meeting Angela, David still gives blood regularly. What’s more, so too does their 24-year-old daughter, Alice and her sister, Emily, 28. In fact, Emily and David normally donate together, treating it as a life-saving catch-up session.

Alice started donating as soon as she became eligible when she turned 17, continuing through her university years, where her recruitment efforts were exemplary. “I would bring donation up with my course mates or post about it on Facebook, in hopes people would be curious about it and want to come with me," she says. "I have managed to encourage quite a lot of people to start donating blood, it’s just so important."


The Arnold family
The Arnold family

The sisters are well aware of the life-saving power of donated blood after their mum was given a transfusion for a medical condition, with Emily conquering a fear of needles in order to donate.

She also convinced her partner and his father to give blood for the first time, showing that the power of persuasion just might be genetic. "It was like a party," says Emily. "My partner’s dad told me he always thought about it but didn’t have anyone to go with. Now all four of us are going! I think it’s important to have someone to go with, so it doesn’t seem as scary."

Alice agrees with the sentiment, saying it is the fear of the unknown that stops many people from giving blood.

"I think if they knew what happens when you donate and had someone to go with who is already familiar with it, there would be less fear and worry."

Do you know someone who’d like to know more about giving blood? They can find out more about what it’s like to give blood for the first time here.