“Donating makes me feel proud”
Platelet donor Josh King is aiming for 100 credits. Currently at 34 credits, he shares how his donation journey began...
Give platelets this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and help up to 12 children. More donors with blood types A negative, A positive, AB negative are needed. Find out more about platelets.
I quickly realised that not only was the process very easy, but also relaxing and, to my great relief, pain-free.
“Three years later, the pandemic started. Quite early on, during the height of the hysteria and horror, I began to experience flashbacks and insomnia related to my surgery. I hadn’t retained many memories of the few morphine-filled, tube-laden post-operation days, hazy as they were, but I couldn’t shake the constant feeling of being hooked up to a machine, weak and afraid.
“Though this feeling persisted for months, and though it was debilitating at its worst, it compelled me to start giving blood again. I wanted to create some positive medical associations to overshadow the flashbacks. That donation was when I discovered my suitability for giving platelets, and I realised that with this I had been given the perfect way to recalibrate my thoughts where tubes and needles and pumping blood was concerned. I could make new, happier memories of medical machines.
“Though I can’t say I was looking forward to my first time (despite my many underwhelming experiences with a needle, I was still convinced it was the worst pain possible), I quickly realised that not only was the process very easy, but also relaxing and, to my great relief, pain-free. Don’t get me wrong, the pinprick to test my iron was a little uncomfortable, and the needle going into my arm was hardly fun, but both were over in less than a second. Then, once I was given a pile of snacks and a hot drink, there was literally nothing required of me for just over an hour except reading my book, checking my phone, and sending selfies to my family hoping they would say how much of a hero I was.
More donors with A negative, AB negative and A positive blood types are needed to join the small community of just 10,000 donors regularly giving platelets across England.
Platelets from donors with these blood types are safe to give to almost everyone and are constantly needed by hospitals.
Platelets are tiny gold-coloured cells in your blood which help it to clot and stop bleeding. Platelet transfusions can help people with cancer and people who've lost a lot of blood after an accident, organ transplant and other surgery.
Nearly 70 per cent of platelet donations are used to help people with cancer. One donation can help up to three adults or 12 children.
Giving platelets can take up to two hours. Currently you can donate platelets at 25 donor centres across the country.
If you are interested in donating platelets a simple assessment will be carried out when you next donate blood to check your suitability. Find out more about platelet donation.
Thanks to the staff and the simplicity of the process, donating genuinely gives me joy and purpose.
“And I’ve found it gets easier every time I go. Not only because sitting back while the machine does its thing is easy enough to get used to, but also because the staff are so friendly and welcoming. They are obviously good at what they do, but what really stands out is how relatable, warm and bright they are, treating me like a regular at a favourite pub. This makes all the difference to the needle-phobic like me.
(Picture: Josh donating platelets)
“I’ve now come to think of these chunks of time when I donate as moments away from the busyness of my life, when I can engage in something simple, rewarding, and positive. Thanks to the staff and the simplicity of the process, donating genuinely gives me joy and purpose now, to the point where I look forward to each donation. Now I have been donating platelets for a few years and, having recently passed thirty-four donation points, I’ve decided to aim for 100.
“And it’s not just the commemorative medal that motivates me (though I do have a lapel picked out), it’s the fact that donating is one of the few things I do that makes me feel proud, makes me feel lucky, and reminds me that, with little effort, anyone can make a measurable difference to the lives and health of others.”