Sunday, December 20, 2009

Giving and Re...giving

Tis the season to give, or in my case, to receive, apparently. Once again, I've been showered with blog awards, and I can't tell you how flattered and honored it makes me feel. Well, maybe I can:



Now, for the awards, which I accept most graciously:
Thank you to the lovely Angie Kate of Always Write and the sweetheart Princess Courtney at Southern Princess Both of their blogs are remarkable, not to mention super fun, so check them out!
Thank you to the remarkable Elizabeth Spann Craig at Mystery Writing is Murder for this beautiful award, which she herself created (isn't that super cool?). I always come away feeling renergized as a writer after reading her blog (full of great tips and advice for writers). So it's a must: go see what her blog's all about.
Last but most certainly not least, thank you to Michele Emrath at Southern City Mysteries for this amazing award. Michele was kind enough to create this award and pass it on to me (as the first recipient) for completing a manuscript! Now, that's awesome! Just finishing my manuscript had felt like such a remarkable accomplishment, but what an honor to have someone acknowledge your efforts in such a way. Please stop by her brilliant blog.

As always, there are rules that come attached to the awards, namely to identify the givers and to pass the awards on, if I desire. And I will definitely be passing them on...later. But first, I've had something kind of big on my mind this past week, and all this talk of giving and receiving has really sort of driven it home; so I'd like to share it with you. If you'll bear with me, I promise I'll get back to the blog mentions and big huge thank yous tomorrow.

But today, well...you see, last week, I made a promise to someone that I would donate blood plasma to help Hannah, a sixteen year old girl who has to undergo plasmapheresis, a procedure that replaces nearly half of her blood plasma with that of donors. You can read all about her story here, written by Tricia Fields. I don't know Hannah, but I know she is a girl in need, and I have what she needs: Type A+ blood. But guess what? It turns out I don't qualify as a donor because I don't meet all the criteria as required by the plasma bank.

And I can't even begin to tell you how much this has bothered me. But, it shouldn't right? I don't even know this poor girl. But this whole week, here's what's been running through my mind: Her name is Hannah. She's sixteen. And she's sick. And I have what she needs. But they won't let me give it to her.

You know, A+ is a fairly common blood type. This means that there will likely be other donors. But there are also alot of people who require that same kind as well.

But none of that matters. None of it. Because I have a name. Her name is Hannah.

It's beyond my ability to help her, but maybe you can. If you have type A+ blood, please consider making a donation at your local blood plasma bank. Check out the PlasmaCare website to see where you can donate. You will need to meet this criteria:

1. Be between the ages of 18 and 65
2. Weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health
3. Provide a valid picture ID and a document with your Social Security number
4. Prove that you reside within our center’s marketing radius. Contact your local center if you're unsure.

And once you're there, tell them you want to donate to Hannah Blair at LeBonheur [in Memphis, TN]. Call LeBonheur at 901 287 – KIDS and ask for 6th floor nursing station. Ask them to fax the release to the blood bank where you give.*

That's it. You have a name. Will you help her?**


*These are the instructions as outlined by Tricia Fields.
**Even if you don't have A+ blood type, you can still donate to help many other patients. They'll even pay you for it.

17 comments:

  1. I am going to look into this tomorrow. I have no idea what my bloodtype is, but I'll find out. It's so sad - she's been in the hospital since before Thanksgiving :-(

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  2. I've tried to give blood. I'm fine and then I get there and have an anxiety attack and can't get my pulse below 80. :-/

    I'll check out this story; hadn't heard of this.

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  3. You are so welcome for the award. :)

    I'm not usually a good blood donor, either. I'll have to try again, though.

    Elizabeth

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  4. I've been giving blood every 4 months or so for the last several years. It seems that there are so few people who are medically able to give (drug-free, not pregnant, not anemic, whatever) that if I am able to do it, I should do it as often as possible. Never given plasma, though. I'll definitely check into it.

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  5. Congrats on the awards. You deserve them. I love your blog.

    I donate blood, but not as frequently as I used to. I really should stop by more often at the bloodmobiles I see all over the place.

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  6. Sara, it's just so sad. I think of what sixteen year olds are supposed to be doing normally, and then I think of what they're supposed to be doing at this time of year, and then...well, it's just depressing.

    misadventuresofmommy, I'm very much the same. I'm so hard to stick, and when I have to give blood, it's a huge ordeal. I've had to donate from the back of my hands before...so it has made me very squeamish. Had they said I could do it, I think it would have been very hard on me. My husband used to donate blood plasma several times a month--he has a scar from it and can no longer donate because of other health reasons...so the thought of it sort of scared me a little more. And then I felt angry with myself for feeling relieved I couldn't do it. It's strange this whole giving business. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is there are other ways to give aside from doing something that makes your body go into shock. Fear of needles is a very real thing. You have a heart of gold, and I suspect that many others have benefitted from your generosity in other ways.

    Elizabeth, so glad you stopped by. I had meant to send you a note to let you know I'd posted this. Thanks again for the award! And please don't feel pressured to run out and go donate. I think just writing out my frustrations helped me. If only one person donates that might not have otherwise, I think I would feel a little less helpless.

    Anne, you are a hero. My grandma is like you (even though she has veins like mine and sometimes has to donate from her feet) and donate blood regularly. Donating plasma is a bit different from donating blood and usually requires more time, though. You are an angel to consider it.

    Medeia, thank you. I'm so glad you've enjoyed it. As for donating, you're a step ahead of me. I rarely donate blood as it's such an ordeal to just get the needle into a vein. It usually requires several attempts by several different technicians--not fun! I commend you for having donated at all. It's not the easiest thing to do.

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  7. Congrats on all of your awards! You deserve them. Your blog is fantastic!

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  8. Congrats on the awards good lady. Especially the novel-completion one!

    Also, thanks for reminding me I should check out local blood/plasma clinics. Last time I went they couldn't use my blood, 'cause I'd traveled abroad too recently. (???) I should check again to see if I'm allowed to give now.

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  9. Kimberley, thank you!

    Simon, many thanks! I've heard they can be fairly choosy when it comes to taking blood. So many rules. But you're welcome for the reminder.

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  10. I dont know what blood type I am but I have tried to donate blood (and plasma) before. I pass out every time. It always takes them an hour or more to get my blood pressure to regulate. Each time they tell me not to donate again. But every few years I try.
    Congrats on the award!
    Karen’s Blog

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  11. Karen, that's tough! It must be terrible when a doctor asks to draw your blood. :( I tink I only passed out once, but I was pregnant and they stuck me over and over fo over fifteen minutes trying to find a vein, and finally, plop! Down I went. It's weird how the mind and body are linked, isn't it?

    Thank you for your congrats!

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  12. Congrats on all the awards!

    I read your blog before I fell asleep last night, but failed to comment. It stuck with me all day - even through all the Kissing Scenes.

    Carol - putting a name to something like this has that innate response of making it real within 'your world'. It is sad but when we think of Charity we merely think of a group of people. Where our donations will be dispersed haphazardly to random children, adults, animals - whomever. Sadly this can turn all of us off from volunteering, from donating, and from caring.
    That intimate connection: a name, a photo, a family member changes it every time. We begin to see it as they do. We begin to understand it is reality for someone else. In my opinion that moment of clarity is a test of our character. We all don't have the means to donate equipment, thousands of dollars, hundreds of pounds of food, or land for those animals to roam; what we do have is the natural ability to comfort. A beautiful truth is that the form of comfort is individual. I cannot get to your region to donate, but I can pray for this child. I can think about this child and donate in my own area. It may not make it to her, but it will be there just in case it could or just in case it could help someone.
    The way we all help out is really not important. What is important, in my opinion, is that we all stopped, read your entry, felt that tug as we feared how it could be us or our daughter, then we sat, thought about how we can help and decided that anything we can do we will.
    Sorry - I get long winded a lot. Oh, btw does she read? If we cannot donate, we might all could send her a little something to take her mind off her troubles...

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  13. The first time I heard my blood type was when I was pregnant because my husband and I had different types--something about RH factor--I can't remember exactly now, which is terrible! Anyways, I think I have the universal donor type, which means I need to get out there and give. Thanks so much for the reminder.

    And congrats on the awards. You deserve them!

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  14. That's a really sad story. It's really great of you to make a blog entry about it. I've never been able to give blood because I never weighed enough (and it creeps me out...)

    Also, congrats on your awards! :)

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  15. Southern Princess, you have such a wonderful way with words. No wonder you're a writer ;) As for the girl, to be honest, I don't even know who she is. But I will pass long the message. Perhaps just seeing that people care about her, even without knowing her will help her. I know it would move me. You are, as always, so thoughtful.

    Lisa and Laura, I think a lot of people don't know their blood types. I think I knew mine because both of my parents had the same blood type, and it must have come up somehow. Your blood type is like the Santa Claus of phlebotomy. Everybody expects you to give give give ;)

    And thank you for the congrats! Very kind of you.

    Alexandra, I'm the same. It makes me feel a bit useless in that department. But I know you, and I know your crazy big heart...your generosity extends itself to others in other ways. I'm sure of it.

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  16. You are a beautiful soul, Carolina.

    Unfortunately, I'm unable to give blood as I lived in the UK during the 80s when 'mad cow' was prevalent. Consequentially, I'm not allowed to. Ever. I would do so in a heartbeat otherwise.

    Hope little Hannah gets well.

    Meaningful post.

    Congrats by the way - again! :)

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  17. Awww, Quill...you are too kind. How crazy that your location in the 80s forbids you from donating. But I've seen that sort of thing before. My husband used to donate plasma several times a month, but one weekend, he drank two nights in a row, and the next day his liver enzyme count was a tad too high, so they wouldn't let him donate plasma...ever again. Isn't that nuts? I suppose you have to protect those that will be in need of the plasma/blood, but geez, such strict rules, huh? Anyway, you are one of the kindest, most generous twitter/bloggies I've encountered, so I know that your wonderful compliment very well applies to you. Beautiful inside and out, living in a beautiful country...I'm honored to know you ;)

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