The Best Gift

Editorial

76

There’s a gift you can give that holds the power to save the lives of three different people. Will you do it?

You carry something around with you every day that can give a sick child a chance to survive. Will you share it?

Inside your body, you hold the key ingredient that might stop an accident victim from bleeding to death. Will you help?

I’m talking about blood donation. With all of our medical and technological advances, science has not yet found a true replacement for the most basic fluid of human life – blood.

We each have about 8-12 units or pints of blood flowing through our blood vessels. Blood is the primary delivery vehicle for everything the body needs – oxygen, nutrients, hormones and more. Pretty amazing stuff that blood. And only you can make it. And me. And other human beings.

We all hear about blood drives. Your workplace might have one, or your church. You think about it, wonder if it fits into your day and whether it really matters or not.

Today I want to share with you that it absolutely does matter and can make the difference between life and death for someone who desperately needs blood. Trauma victims, those who need surgery, chemotherapy patients – they all need blood.

The importance of blood donors has been apparent to us since our youngest son was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 14. Leukemia is a blood cancer and its treatment usually requires multiple transfusions.

We watched as 35 units of blood were transfused into our teenaged son over the course of his treatment. Each time we were grateful for the generosity of those unknown donors. Donors who had no idea they were saving our son’s life. Maybe they donated for the cookies and juice or because their girlfriend asked them to. Whatever their reason, they did indeed save our son’s life.

Two weeks ago, our youngest grandson was born with a life-threatening blood problem. They tried everything but it finally it came down to the last option. The only way to save his life was through blood transfusion. He was 3 days old and the only way he was going to go home with his parents and older brother was if someone had donated blood that could be used to save him.

Parents and grandparents – you know how helpless that moment felt.

Here in 2017, we live in a world that values self-reliance. Have a problem? Fix it yourself. Need something? Get it yourself. If we do have to ask someone for help, we ask our friends or our family. Never strangers.

Except for blood donations. When we need one of those, we have to rely upon total strangers. People we will never meet. People who take an hour out of their life to give away a unit of blood for absolutely nothing in return except for maybe some cookies and juice.

Wonder if the world is going to hell in a hand-basket? If the arguing, the partisanship, the negativity that’s growing in the world we live in is slowly but surely eliminating our sense of community? Our willingness to help each other and be there when our neighbors need us?

Drop by a blood donation center and watch donors come and go and your faith in our shared humanity will be restored. Here are people donating something only they can donate for someone they will never see.

Our grandson required several units of blood and is now home with his Mom, Dad and brother and doing well. Our son is now a healthy young man. All because some people took the time to do something for a stranger. A heartfelt “Thank You!” does not come close to reflecting our gratitude for blood donors everywhere.

Few would refuse if asked face-to-face to donate blood to save a 3-day-old baby. Consider this our asking each of our readers to donate blood because somewhere out there a 3-day old baby needs you.

Please consider making a blood donation. You’ll never know who you help, but know that whoever it is, they are eternally grateful for your gift.

Upcoming blood drives include:

  • Monday, June 19 from 1-4pm at the Hampton Inn, 11281 Summerlin Square Blvd, Fort Myers Beach
  • Tuesday, June 20 from 9:30am-3:30pm at Key West Express, 1200 Main St, Fort Myers Beach
  • Thursday, June 29 from 7:30-11:30am at Fort Myers Beach Fire Station #31, 3043 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach
  • Thursday, June 29 from 12:30-3:30pm at Santini Marina Plaza, 7205 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach.
  • Saturday, July 22 from 9am-5pm at the Lani Kai Resort, 1400 Estero Blvd for the Kenny Conidaris Blood Drive.

If those dates don’t work for you, give Lee Health a call at their Summerlin Crossings Blood Center: 239-437-5061. They’re open Monday-Friday at 15880 Summerlin Road. They have cookies and juice too!

 

Missy Layfield