THERE was a desperate call for blood donors on national television recently, revealing that stocks are alarmingly low and lives at risk. I had donated 50 units of blood in the past plus been on a special programme for the donation of platelets etc, which resulted in being called out urgently at all times of the day and night.
However I had lapsed as a donor in recent years. So heeding the call I went along to the Blood Transfusion Service next to the Provincial Hospital, only to be told the cut-off age for new or lapsed donors is 65.
This smacks of ageism! Many folks in their 60s, 70s and 80s are perfectly fit enough to donate a unite of blood and it’s not as if donors are in it for the money. I would have thought a determination of medical fitness plus the onus being on the donor in case of risk would be better criteria for donor suitability than an arbitrary age limit.
I assured the good people at Blood Transfusion that, although I have reached the incredible old age of age of four score years and five, I am really very fit. Alas, 65 it is!
I have thoroughly gone off the thought of responding to the national crisis to save lives now, but perhaps desperation on the part of Blood Transfusion demands a sensible re-think?
Barry Sendall, Walmer, Port Elizabeth