Donating blood isn't only quick and easy, it's also a fantastic way to give something back to society and a great chance to make a meaningful difference to the lives of others.
The UK's National Blood Service is always looking for new donors and offers a safe, clean and comfortable environment at all of its donation centres for those who want to contribute.
Londoners can pop along to the conveniently-located West End Donor Centre on Margaret Street, just a couple of minutes walk from Oxford Circus.
Giving blood is a quick and easy process that takes less than an hour. Fill in a form, lie back on a bed, let the nurse take care of everything, give your blood and enjoy a restorative cup of tea and biscuit (or three) once you're done.
Most people are able to give blood, though the National Blood Service has set down a few requirements. If you're between 17 and 65 years of age and weigh at least 50kg (7st 12lb), and are in good health, there's nothing stopping you going along as soon as you can.
Females under 20 years of age who weigh under 65kg (10st 3lb) and are under 168cm (5' 6") in height will need to check their blood volume to find out if they're able to donate – this can be done online here [pdf] and only takes a matter of seconds.
During the donation process, just under a pint of your blood is taken, an amount which your body is able to quickly replace.
Once you've donated, your blood is transported to one of the many blood centres throughout the country. To protect patients, all blood is tested to make sure it's safe to be used. Once it's cleared and sorted into different types, it's matched with a patient in need of a transfusion.
Tea will be served...
You can register online here to become a blood donor. Alternatively, just pop along to the West End Donor Centre to make an appointment, or take a look at the National Blood Service's excellent website to find out more.
Having a regular supply of donated blood is vital for the health service to function effectively. And it saves lives. You never know, it might be you who needs a blood transfusion one day.