Having a good time is not often associated with blood being pumped from your arm, however, your perspective on that might change with a trip to the Red Cross Blood Service.

I’ll start by confessing there have been times, while strapped into the chair with a needle in my arm for a 40-minute plasma donation, that I do begin to question my own judgement. Despite these hesitations, the end result is always the same as I leave the clinic with that feel-good feeling, as well as a full belly.

I have become a regular member of what friends and I dub “blood parties”, which I can assure you has no connection to the rise in the popularity of vampires. Rather it is a fantastic chance to catch up with a few friends over a very worthwhile activity.

A whole blood donation will take about 10 minutes (plus time to fill in forms), plasma and platelet donations will take longer, which can make the needle in your arm a little more noticeable. However, the friendly nursing staff seem to be able to sense the fear of needles and are happy to chat to take your mind off the process. In fact, once you get over the thought of needles (and perhaps vampires) the whole atmosphere of the place can become rather enjoyable.

Brave efforts are rewarded with morning/afternoon tea, a worthy outcome in itself, which is made all the sweeter by the knowledge that a single donation can save three lives, not to mention the good company of a blood party.

The Red Cross Blood Bank is always looking for donors, so why don’t you go and book your own “blood party” with some friends? And besides, apart from a bit of  blood, what have you got to lose?

Contact the Red Cross Blood Bank on 13 14 95 to make an appointment.