Yesterday I received an email notification from the Township informing me that the Red Cross were doing a blood drive in the area.

I cannot give blood in the US.  Nor can Mr Pict.

This is because we lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 which means the American Red Cross believe we might be tainted with vCJD, the human form of mad cow disease.  Based on a very limited number of cases, they believe it is possible to transmit vCJD through transfusion and, there being no reliable test for it, have deemed all such blood off limits.  I think this is a real pity since they are always campaigning to get more people to donate because of shortages.

I signed up and first gave blood when I was 17 and did so regularly until I was pregnant with my oldest child.  Back-to-back pregnancies and breastfeeding meant I was ineligible to donate for a decade and then they decided that my veins were so spindly that it was too much effort to obtain enough blood from me, even enough for testing purposes, so the Blood Donation people told me not to bother returning.  I thought that was silly.  Frequent reports of blood shortages yet drawing blood from me was deemed too labour intensive.  Nevertheless, my husband kept attending blood donation drives and handing over his pint of red stuff through all of those years when I could not.

Now neither of us can donate blood.

I sincerely hope we are both eligible for donating our organs and bone marrow but that research is for another day.

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