For much of my adult life, I was a recurring blood donor – back in Australia and then while living in the Isle of Man. The personal cost for me to donate blood was literally trivial (sit down for half an hour and have someone put a needle into me) and the benefits were obvious (less people dying!).
Unfortunately, I attended a friend’s wedding in 2016. In Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Because I had travelled to South America, I was indefinitely barred from donating blood in the Isle of Man – their thinking is that I had a risk of carrying “T Cruzi“, a rare blood-borne parasite. Of course, there was no specific indication that I was affected as an individual – but their risk system had determined the risk outweighed the benefit of taking my blood. The only way for me to become eligible to donate blood in the Isle of Man was to donate in the United Kingdom (or somewhere else that they test for this thing) and then return to donating blood in the Isle of Man.
However, the local Manx blood service has recently changed its policy, and will now allow me to donate blood again. In addition, because I have an apparently unusual blood type, they’ll call me when they need it again. Easy!
If you want to join in donating blood here in the Isle of Man, more information is available online here.