I'm very proud to say that I am a Blood Donor - I've been giving blood every six months for the past three years. I'm also on the Organ Donor register, so that in the event of my death, someone else will be able to play music after me.
Of course, that's a joke - the music dies with me.
But I am on the Organ Donor register. And recently, to ensure that none of me goes to waste, I also registered to become a Bone Marrow donor. I decided to do this, after reading a leaflet whilst giving blood about it. I say reading - the leaflet was laid across my face as I couldn't move my arm. What about my other arm? That was bent behind my head for comfort. D'uh!
Anyway, this leaflet said that there was a shortage of Bone Marrow donors in the U.K. - and being a giving a sort of chap, I decided that I should do my bit and sign up. In due course, I was accepted on to the register. I didn't know when they would contact me to ask for some Bone Marrow, but I knew it wouldn't be long - after all, there is a shortage of Donors.
Well, the days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months. Soon enough my next blood donor appointment came round, so I decided to be pro-active and ask one of the nurses when I might be contacted and asked to donate some Bone Marrow.
"Oh, well we might never ask you" replied the nurse, in a matter-of-fact way.
I was shocked and surprised at this answer to my question. They might never ask me? Why? Why would they not want my Marrow? It's as good any anyone else's - anyone else who has had their blood checked for suitability and have been accepted as a potential bone marrow donor - and didn't the leaflet say that there was a shortage of Donors?
I was struggling to get my head round this concept. There is a shortage of Bone Marrow Donors (apparently), and yet the BBMR - the British Bone Marrow Register - are picky about who they ask. How can this be? You don't sit there with loads cheques payable to you in your pocket, and then complain about not having any money? You would sell a really popular brand of washing powder, but keep all your stock in the warehouse and none on the shop floor?
I didn't understand - here I was, with my perfectly good Marrow sitting in my bones doing nothing, and there being a real need for Donors in the U.K., and yet no-one wanted to take it from me?
When I say my Marrow is "doing nothing", I mean apart from producing new blood cells, and being an important part of the Lymphatic system, especially good at preventing the back flow of Lymph. But apart from that, it is idle. You could say, Bone idle ha ha ha ha ha ha!!
So I don't know what is going on. Maybe the Bone Marrow donation process is like the bidding process for tickets to the 2012 Olympics - hundreds of thousands of people register, but very few actually get what they want. Maybe one day, they'll ask me to donate Bone Marrow which will ultimately be given to a arthritic Hamster, or a duck with rickets.
They keep my details on record until I'm 60 years old apparently - by which time, I'll be so brittle that if they take any Bone Marrow, my entire skeletal system will be likely to implode on itself.
I have good Bone Marrow - if anyone wants any, get in touch.
If you want to find out more about Giving Blood, or the Organ Donor Register, click Here
If you are reading this in the U.S.A. and want to know more about giving blood, click Here