So my partner and I shaved our heads to raise money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Research, I also donated hair to The little Princess Trust which has been something I have always wanted to do but that is just a few of the things on my list of good deeds I hope to fulfil throughout my life.
I’ve always been eager to give back as much as I can in as many different ways as possible, therefore I created a list of things I could sign up for or do now that would get me on the track to give back. So, obviously apart from hair donation (which would be something I would do again) I am a signed up blood donor, organ & tissue donor and a stem cell donor. These are three really easy things to both sign up for and do!
Blood donating – sign up online and book an appointment, pop down to your local centre and enjoy a glass of water. Then after a quick prick of the finger (to make sure there is enough iron in your blood) off you go and get comfy in a pretty funky styled chair where they place a needle in your arm which collects your blood into a bag. A small scratching sensation and then BOOM, done. Juice and biscuits afterwards and bobs your uncle. i’ve been donating 4 times a year since I was 17 years old and its a great feeling knowing that your blood could potentially aid in or save a life and the procedure doesn’t take long at all!
Organ & Tissue donating – Now I could potentially be a live organ donor, which means donating a kidney or part of my liver while living but this is normally done if a close blood relative was in need of either. So for now I am not a live donor and hope not to be (for the health of my family of course) however I am a organ donor meaning that once I die, if there is a patient in need of my organs or tissue, well they can have them. May as well aid others rather than my body going to waste in the ground.
Stem cell donating – Stem cells are amazing! Basically they are cells in the body that can be formed into any form of cell it need to. For example, I’ve had a terrible accident and have lost a lot of blood, BOOM here comes the stem cells to create more blood for me, or skin, or anything my body needs at the time. Well my stem cells can also be a match with someone else (a bit like blood types) who’s body does not produce them or needs a kick start in producing them. Therefore they can be extracted from my body and given to the individual. There are two procedures this can be done which I will explain in quick. Number 1) I receive three injections over three days to stimulate my stem cells to go into my blood stream. Day four I go to a hospital in London where they hook me up to a dialysis-like machine, taking the blood out of one arm which goes into the machine, removing the stem cells and pumps the blood back into my body via the other arm. Number 2) I go to hospital on day one and get the same injection, I stay in a London hospital over night and the following morning under general anaesthetic have two needles injected to my pelvis to extract the stem cells from my bone marrow. I stay in hospital a following night to make sure I’m fine and dandy and thats it.
Stem cell donating is easy to sign up for and can be done through two different organisations; the NHS or Anthony Nolan trust, which is who I signed with. You sign up, get sent a spit pot, (which is exactly what it sounds like) you spit in the pot, send it back and they look for a match for you. this could take a month, a year ,60 years or you may never be a match! When they do find you a match all the expenses are paid for by the organisation. For more information on Anthony Nolan stem cell donation click here.
Okay so there is a list of a few things I am sign up for at the moment, looking for more as we speak but I also have one more which I am unable to do yet. In the future if I ever have children I plan on donating my umbilical cord and placenta for it is rich with stem cells which can be used the same way as mentioned earlier. Normally they get thrown away and therefore the stem cells are lost, so it may as well be donated to help again preserve a life or bring science closer to finding a cure for a variety of different illnesses.
There you go, there is a summary of the things I am signed up for to help make a difference. I plan on creating another blog like this but in a bucket list form in order to add more good deeds on and cross them off as I go, giving you the chance to monitor my efforts. If you know of anything else I can do or have any suggestions, please leave a comment at the bottom.
Blog you later »