Why I Started Advocating for Blood Donations

Dunstan Nicol-Wilson avatar

by Dunstan Nicol-Wilson |

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As someone with sickle cell disease, I’m very passionate about blood donations because this selfless act of kindness can change a person’s life, or even save it. Many donations go toward blood transfusions, a critical treatment for sickle cell patients.

I can’t donate blood, so my advocacy efforts include raising awareness about the importance of this modern-day miracle. Many people don’t realize how much donations are needed, and they don’t know how to donate.

Years ago, I didn’t know about the need for blood donations, either. I would attend consultations with my hematologist, explain that I hadn’t received any blood transfusions, and not think about it further. Then one day, I saw a video on social media of a child with sickle cell who needed blood transfusions to play with friends. That resonated with me.

I was once that child who couldn’t play with friends because of sickle cell complications. My situation was different, though, because I eventually recovered on my own and was able to play again. Had I depended on blood transfusions, I wouldn’t have been able to rely on my body to heal. My fate would have been in the hands of strangers who decided to donate blood.

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If people don’t donate, sickle cell patients might not receive treatment. This reality drives many of us to action. Because I know what it means to put my life in the care of others, I want to make a difference.

My first step was to ask my close circle of friends if they would donate blood in my place. Many said yes (admittedly, I guilt-tripped a few), and I grew in confidence from this experience.

I expanded my efforts to a wider audience and worked with charity organizations to get the message across. Not everyone says yes to giving blood, and sometimes I feel discouraged. However, I push on because I know that these people are at least more aware now, and a seed has been planted.

To those who say yes to giving blood, I am eternally grateful. Those donations will go toward saving lives. Sadly, there have been several high-profile cases here in the U.K. in which sickle cell patients didn’t receive the right treatment in time and died. This is completely unacceptable, and change needs to happen.

Today may be the last day of National Blood Donor Month in the U.S., but it’s important for people around the world to donate blood throughout the year. If you’re unable to donate, try to encourage someone else to do so.

Note: Sickle Cell Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell disease.


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