Friday, February 20, 2015

Altruism

For his book The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood to Social Policy (1970), Richard Titmuss and his associates carried out a survey of over 3,800 blood donors in England. Some selected responses to question 5 ('Could you say why you first decided to become a blood donor?'):
You cant get blood from supermarkets and chaine stores. People them selves must come forword, sick people cant get out of bed to ask you for a pint to save thier life so I came forword in hope to help somebody who needs blood (married woman, 23, machine operator)
I thought it just a small way to help people—as a blind person other opportunities are limited (married man, 49, piano tuner)
I get my surgical shoes thro' the N.H.S. This is some slight return and I want to help people (married man, 53, insurance agent)
To try and repay in some small way some unknown person whose blood helped me recover from two operations and enable me to be with my family, thats why I bring them along also as they become old enough (married woman, 44, a farmer's wife)
Some unknown person gave blood to save my wifes life (married man, 43, self-employed window cleaner)
My husband aged 41, collapsed and died, without whom life is very lonely—so I thought my blood may help to save some-one the heart ache I've had (transfusion received by husband before he died) (widow, 47, school meals service cook)
My son was killed on the road, he was a Blood Donor and I knew they did their best to save him and because I know he would be pleased I am carrying on as long as I can to help someone I hope (married woman, 63, wife of a timber sawyer)
From being a boy I had suffered from constant nose bleeding and since I became a donor I have not had a single nose bleed (married man, 43, newsagent)
My conscience—having served 5 years on active service in the war (1939–45) helping to destroy life, and during this period my wife was receiving blood to save her life, it occurred to me, after demobilization, that I could at least ease my conscience (married man, 52, clerical officer civil service)
It was a good excuse for a good cup of tea and the afternoon off duty whilst serving in the Navy (married man, 42, maintenance engineer printing)
1941. War. Blood needed. I had some. Why not? (married man, 47, sales representative)
A pretty young nurse walked round the factory I was working in (married man, 41, development engineer)
Knowing I mite be saving somebody life (single woman, 40, power press operator)
No man is an island (married man, 36, foreman maintenance fitter)

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