I have several items on my “bucket list.” Some of them are grand adventures like running Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim at the Grand Canyon, taking a ride in a hot air balloon, running the Boston Marathon or meeting a running hero like Kathrine Switzer. Others are a little less glamorous, but very personally meaningful to me. One of those things on my list was to donate blood – something that I think we all know is a good thing to do, but many of us never get around to actually doing.
There is a special reason why this was so very important to me. My beautiful daughter, Savannah, the youngest of my five children was a very sick little baby when she was about 6 months old. Though we never did get a diagnosis for why Savannah became so seriously ill, one of the turning points for her recovery was when she received a blood transfusion at St Luke’s Children’s Hospital on September 22, 2007.
I remember being terrified as they told me that my little girl might not live through the night, but standing by her bedside, stroking the soft tufts of blond hair on her little cherub head and singing softly to her through my tears as she received that life-giving blood. As the hours went by, color started to return to Savannah’s face. It would be nearly a year before Savannah would be fully well again, but that night will forever be etched into my memory as the night she was given hope again. I told my husband that very day that it was very important to me to one day donate blood as the best way possible I could say, “Thank you” to whoever had given so selflessly to my own baby girl and helped save her life!
Well, a few weeks ago, while on an early morning run with my pal, Ryan, he mentioned feeling a little tired since he’d given blood the day before. That’s when I shared with him my own family’s story and told him I really wanted to give blood too! So, he invited me to join him the next time the American Red Cross came to his office and I happily jumped at the chance!
So, today was that day. The day I was able to pay it forward. As I was lying back in the chair, I thought about how frightened and hopeless I’d felt the day Savannah needed blood and how utterly grateful I was when there was blood available to give to her. I wondered about where my own blood would go. Would it be another little baby like my own who would need it? A mother? A grandpa? It really doesn’t matter. It just feels amazing to know that there is a very simple way to do some good, to provide some help to those who really need it!
So, if you are like I was – thinking that giving blood is a good thing to do and something you’d always intended to do, I encourage you to take the steps to find a local donation location so that you, too, can share the gift of life! And for those of you, like Ryan who have been giving for years, please know from the bottom of my heart how truly grateful I am for your kindness! Thank you!!