Every second Friday, on my day off from work, I take the time and drive the 20km or so out to Casuarina and spend about an hour or so with the wonderful staff at the donation center. I've gotten to know them all by name over the last several years just as they know me. A friendlier bunch of people armed with needles you'll never meet.
Friday is also Hawaiian shirt day, which is just totally awesome to see them all in their bright colours.
I can honestly say that I've been very lucky in life and haven't had anyone close to me that has been through something that would require the use of a large blood or plasma donation (even platelets which we can't do here in Darwin). There hasn't been a single incident that's been the driving force behind me doing this. I see a need that has to be filled so I try and do what I can to help out.
My parents both donate blood every chance they get, and my younger brother has just passed 110 donations. I've told him that he needs to stop for a few years so I can catch up with him. I'm only in my early 40's LOL. The stubborn bugger refuses.
Although I don't fully agree with some of their policies regarding who can and can't donate, I do understand the need to have strict controls in place when dealing with bodily fluids.
When all is said and done, I know the donation I've made will go towards helping someone who really needs it.
What do I get? Well... I get a bandage on my arm, a juice, some cheese and crackers and an amazing cookie. Some could even argue the best tasting cookie in Australia. (I might have to agree with them). My cookie usually get's saved until Sunday when I'm at work and I'm in desperate need of a chocolate fix.