Thursday, May 16, 2013

Giving Life

I wanted to write a post about something that is important to me - sharing life with other human beings. A few days ago I received a letter from the National Marrow Donor Program's Be The Match registry. I am a possible match for someone looking for marrow or blood stem cells to overcome a blood disease. This is the second time I have been contacted for this since I joined the registry 19 years ago. The first time, I wasn't a match. I don't really have any feelings either way this time - I don't care of I turn out to be a match or not, but I do hope that there is a match somewhere.

Unfortunately, not all patients find a suitable match, and those who don't likely die. That's why it's so important to have as many different people in the registry as possible. Joining is easy - all you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek, no needles! You can join in person at a registration drive, but they will also send you a kit through the mail. You also have full control every step of the way. If you are contacted about being a possible donor, you have the choice to say no right then, and of course the freedom to say no at any point in the process. I couldn't imagine having the ability to save a life and then opting not to. I never take sick days anyway, so this would be a good excuse ;)

Another easy lifesaving option is to donate blood. I never had the opportunity - used to be afraid of needles, and then never seemed to find a blood drive that I could get to with my work and travel schedule. Now, I have finally been able to do it! Unfortunately, there are only two blood drives a year in my small town, but because of my height and current weight, I was able to donate just my red blood cells so I could effectively double my donation. If you have the time to attend a blood drive every couple of months, then a really quick option is to donate a pint of blood, which usually takes 15 minutes or so and you are eligible to donate again in 56 days. Donating red blood cells has height and weight thresholds, takes longer (the actually take the blood, filter out the red blood cells, and then return your plasma and platelets into your body) and can only be done once every four months. If you need a reason other than saving a life, then here you go - you will burn about 650 calories just by giving up a pint of blood. See, your diet CAN afford the juice and cookies afterwards!

Last, I want to encourage you to be an organ donor. That is the ultimate gift. If something ever happens to me, I truly hope that my legacy will live on in others. I can think of nothing more beautiful than life out of death, hope out of tragedy.

2 comments:

  1. I never realized it was that easy to join. Thank you for posting about this!

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