PLEASE don’t wait for something terrible to happen to think: “I am going to pay a visit to my local blood donation clinic.”

I am the worst person ever when it comes to doing things on time instead of procrastinating, thinking I will still be able to do it next month, or next year. Now I can’t give it any more, I regret not taking it more seriously.

I will never forget the day I gave my blood for the very first time.

It is actually a very happy memory.

READ MORE: Assa Samake-Roman: I’m missing the joy and power of protests in France

I had just turned 18, and a team from The French Blood Establishment had been scheduled to pay a visit to the older students at the high school where I started my higher education.

I went with my group of friends. It was a typical weekday, filled with philosophy, literature and history classes, and that was our weird way to relax at the end of the day. We filled out the necessary paperwork, answered a few questions, and then waited anxiously for our turn.

We had a great laugh, especially after seeing the faces of some of us who weren’t loving seeing so much blood leaving their body into a transparent bag. But mostly, we loved the snacks and sweet treats at the end of it, the friendliness of the nurses, and the very high turnout for this event.

The second time was here in Scotland. The conditions were pretty much the same: the blood donation event was organised by senior students at my university accommodation and I just needed to turn up.

We all walked to the nearby blood donation clinic, did what we had to do and had coffee afterwards. It was a great bonding activity, especially at the beginning of the year when I didn’t know anyone in Edinburgh.

The third time I gave my blood was three years later, in the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris attacks.

A national tragedy had just happened, and there was a sudden need for more blood as survivors of these senseless attacks were being admitted to hospitals in their droves, which put incredible pressure on the system.

The whole country understood that blood couldn’t be stockpiled, frozen or manufactured. Red blood cells can only be stored for up to 42 days, while platelets can only be stored for up to five days.

This means that there is a constant need for fresh blood donations to ensure that there is an adequate supply available. So like thousands of French people, I went to the closest hospital to where I lived at the time, did the thing, and treated myself to some brunch afterwards.

READ MORE: UK to be worst-performing G7 economy despite IMF upgrade

What I didn’t know at the time was that it was going to be my last time giving blood because a few years later, a transfusion would save my life – making me ineligible to give blood in the UK.

Never in a million years would I have thought that it would happen to me, but c’est la vie. Sometimes you have the worst alignment of the planets, and you give birth to your first child, and a catastrophic haemorrhage after a relatively normal C-section means you have to spend your first days of parenthood in intensive care.

Had it not been for the amazing professionals at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary and the selfless, anonymous blood donors that I will never meet or be able to thank, I would probably not be writing these lines today.

I am forever in their debt.

It is amazing to think that something as simple and easy, that most people can take part in, can save a life, but that is exactly what happened to me.

Whenever I remember my blood donations, I realise that it took minimal effort and was practically on my doorstep, ready for me to just come on a whim.

Today, my concern is that due to so many people working from home over the past three years, they just won’t have the same opportunities to donate, and won’t think about it.

Just a few days ago, I was reminded of that by a close friend of mine who finds themselves in an unexpected situation, desperately asking people to donate blood to help keep someone special alive, as well as many other people who are facing life-threatening accidents and illnesses.

Then I read stories of people who have been regular blood donors for decades. I learned that one donation can save up to three lives.

That is when I decided to write this column – if even one reader feels encouraged to donate blood, or at least considers it, talks to their relatives, or organises a blood donation event at work or at school, then nothing would make me happier.

You never know whose life you may be saving.

READ MORE: Pete Wishart schools Tory MP after 'snapping on heels' claim

Donating blood is one of the most significant contributions that you can make to society. Without an adequate blood supply, patients’ lives may be at risk. By donating blood, you can help ensure that there is enough blood supply available for those who need it.

On the Scotblood website, you can check the levels of blood available in the country, and you will notice that supply is too low for some blood types. Ideally, the country needs to have six days’ worth of blood supply on hand at all times, because it is impossible to predict how much and when it might be needed.

Just in December of last year, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service had to urgently call for donations because of dismally low levels of blood ahead of the holiday season. Donating blood is a selfless act that can make a significant difference in someone’s life. It made a difference in mine, and those of all the people I am fortunate to call my friends and family.

It is easy, safe ... and you will get cake at the end. I can’t think of any downsides to it, so please spread the word and donate.