Graham's steady hand proves donating platelets is relaxing
AFTER being a donor for 18 years, Graham Norman said he had learned one very important skill – how to read a book with one hand.
The 66-year-old started giving blood in 1994 but, two years ago, swapped to becoming a platelet donor instead.
"You have to keep your arm extremely still when you're donating," said Graham.
"If you're giving platelets, you're usually there about an hour.
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"That leaves you with the other hand to read your book or eat biscuits or a bag of crisps. It's actually harder than you might think.
"The staff usually help you if you are struggling – but luckily, I've managed to counter the book problem by investing in a Kindle!"
Graham, of David's Close, Chellaston, said learning his amusing trick had a more serious message about giving blood.
He said: "The fact people read a book or listen to their iPod just shows what a relaxed environment it is.
"That's why I would encourage anyone to give blood – it doesn't take up much of your time and you feel so great about it afterwards, knowing you've helped someone else."
Graham is backing our Save a Life campaign to find 500 new donors in Derbyshire.
He started donating platelets – tiny, colourless bodies in the blood needed to help it clot – after being asked to by NHS Blood and Transplant.
Patients with conditions such as leukaemia rely on platelet donations as they may have too few platelets as the result of the disease or treatment.
There are 24 centres across the country where people can go to donate platelets, with Nottingham being the nearest location for Derby donors.
Before starting to give platelets, Graham – who retired after 38 years as a director at British Midland Airways – used to donate blood with his wife Maureen, 64.
He said: "When I went for the first time, I went to the Osmaston Road Baptist Church and, frankly, I didn't know what to expect.
"But I was impressed with the checks they did to make sure it was okay for me to give blood and then there were no problems when I did it.
"A lot of people say they are meaning to give blood and I always say to them to try it at least once – so they can see that the experience is fine."