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Zen Mama Wannabe » Blog Archive » How to Save a Life
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How to Save a Life

The posters were plastered all around town.  Between drops-offs at school and quick (ha!) visits to the post office and the grocery store, you could not pretend to ignore the request.  Her beautiful 6-year old eyes radiated off the signs – even off the front page of the local newspaper.  The story was a simple one: this sweet little girl has leukemia and is in need of a bone marrow donor.  By coming to this neighborhood bone marrow drive and doing a quick cheek-swab, you would become part of the national marrow donor directory.  You might just be able to save this little girl’s life – or someone else who is similarly in need.   If someone asked YOU, would you do it?  Would you choose to save a life?

In talking to other parents in the days leading up to this local event, here are some “concerns” we came up with.  Do any of them match your own? 

  • I’d like to help but I am just so busy right now. (The cheek swabs take less than a minute.  EVERYBODY has a minute.  As I heard someone say, “I don’t have the time” takes on a completely different meaning to the over 6,000 patients who check the national registry on any given day, just hoping and praying for a life-saving match.)
  • I am a busy _____ (mother, father, executive, sole bread-winner, etc. — fill in the blank) and I can’t be tied up in bed for a week or two recovering if I was chosen as a match.  (The majority of donations do not involve surgery.  The more commonly used peripheral blood stem cell donation is a non-surgical outpatient procedure.  If marrow is needed, it is a needle aspiration surgical procedure, again usually outpatient. Recovery is relatively quick.)
  • Ugh, I don’t do well with needles and blood and that whole thing.  (Does a 6-year old – whose regular life has now been turned upside down and is dealing with chemo and needles and tubes and drips  – do well with it either?)
  • I just know that if I do this, I will be the one chosen.  (There are nearly 14.5 million donors in the bone marrow registry.  Yet, only approximately 2,000-3,000 procedures are done each year.  That is how hard it is to get a match!)
  • I thought the best chance of a match was from family members.  (You have only a 1 in 4 chance that a sibling or family member would be a match for you.  Over two-thirds of the patients needing a bone marrow transplant do not have a match in their family.) 

The deciding factor that pushed this Zen Mama Wannabe over the top was my own children.  My kids are healthy (and I thank God for this – believe me, I do)!  I am so fortunate.  But what if it was MY child that was sick and in need?  I would do e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g I possibly could.  And I would want EVERYONE to do the same.  So how can I not participate in this?  Think karma or pay it forward. How can you choose not to try?

With slight hesitation, my husband and I went to the bone marrow drive that day.  We left with tears in our eyes and love in our hearts, feeling so humbled – and proud to be a part of it.  I now HOPE I get chosen as a match!  What an honor that would be to be able to offer such a gift. 

So what about you??  What do YOU say?  Are you reading this thinking that you too would have gone and done the cheek swab, paid the small lab fee and become a part of the national donor registry like we did?  That you would not have hesitated to offer the possibility of the gift of life?

Well, great news!  You CAN participate online, wherever you are – and from now until September 22 it is FREE — thanks to the NASCAR Foundation.  So no excuses – here’s what you need to do:

Click this link – which should take you right to the sign-up page – or follow these simple steps:

Go to Nascar.com/foundation
Click on Programs/Events
Click on Blood and Marrow drive
Follow the link to donate ON-LINE (at the bottom of all the race track dates, click where it says ONLINE MARROW REGISTRATION)

A cheek swab kit will be sent to you in the mail.  You do your own test and mail it back.  EASY!

If you miss the September 22nd deadline, you can still get a kit through www.marrow.org for $52 or contact the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for drives being held in your area. 

Lastly, for those of you with kids, this turned out to be one of those great “teaching” moments that parents always hope to get.  My son had a LOT of questions (as all 7-year olds seem to do) and it gave me the opportunity to not only talk about it, but to SHOW him and his sister that this is what Daddy and I were willing to do.  If they were sick, we would do everything and anything to try and help them get better.  Right now, this little girl is sick (as are the many others out there) and we want to do what we can to help them.  What a special thing to teach; what an empowering message for our kids to learn.   

What about you?  It just takes a simple click of the mouse.  Won’t you SHOW that it is a gift you can offer too?

 

Please note:  You need to be between the ages of 18 and 60 to become a donor.  (If you are not, please still pass this along to everyone you know)!

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4 Responses to “How to Save a Life”

  1. LarkLady Says:
    September 17th, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Okay — I took your challenge and registered on-line (after checking for any drives locally and finding none). The odds aren’t high that I’ll ever get called: you can donate only until your 61st birthday, and the number between here and there is rapidly diminishing, I’m not happy to admit.

    Now I’ll go circulate that Nascar website to all the people I know at work, at church, at class. It’s something I’ve thought of doing a number of times before but just never got around to it. I give blood regularly, but this was a step or two beyond that. You inspired me: Thank you!

  2. Zen Mama Wannabe Says:
    September 17th, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Yea! LarkLady I am proud of you! Thanks so much for spreading the word!!

  3. Billy Says:
    September 20th, 2008 at 11:35 am

    I have bookmarked the site, it says part of it will take 30 minutes so I will do it this evening for sure, why not do my part in helping when it’s as simple as filling out some online forums and getting a kit mailed to me free thanks to a sponsor!

    On a side note, I am currently working on helping Kina Grannis get exposure for her Leukemia and Lymphoma Society marathon in October. I think this is a really good cause to do events for. Although I am not close to anyone who suffers from it, I know that can change at any time and I want to support the people who do events and marathons, I know it takes a lot of training to get in shape and stay in shape. I am currently working on getting into better shape, but I am way off from running a marathon (I can run about 1/4 a mile before wearing down).

    If you are interested, you can read about Kina Grannis through the link in my name. Feel free to comment the article explaining about a charity event you or someone you know may be doing, the more exposure the better!

    Don’t forget to add a link for your info page in the comments, if it starts getting many comments I will add them to a post of their own as well.

  4. MVmom Says:
    September 22nd, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for the information regarding online registration. I regretted not getting over to the drive for Lara, but now feel as if I got a second chance to do “the right thing”.

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