Giving Back Because I Can

I am a lucky girl, and I know it.

I have a good husband who is crazy about me, and after 17 years I’m still in love with him, too. I can appreciate him even more because my first marriage wasn’t so warm.

I have two smart, beautiful daughters.

I was able to keep them fed, safe and loved throughout their developmental years, and now that they’re a little older, we can provide a few extras for them, too. I know I appreciate my children, because I once lost one.

I have a good life.

I give because I know what I have is precious, and I want everyone to have a chance at a life they’ll love as much as I love mine. It doesn’t hurt me at all to give blood, so I do, as often as I can. I make more. Maybe I bought someone else some more time here. A little of my time for their life? Bargain.

When I’m gone, I’ll be an organ donor.

I’ve informed my husband and kids that they are, too. They don’t really care either way, their attitude is, “Well, if I’m not using it … “ Exactly. It would help to know that in our loss, someone else will be spared the same pain. It would hurt me far more not to give.

I also signed up recently as a bone marrow donor. I’ll tell you why.

I’ve been raging a little internally about my own helplessness in the face of death. A friend of my daughter’s killed himself. One of my friends is fighting breast cancer, again. And my favorite uncle has an aggressive cancer in his brain. There’s not a thing I can do about any of it. I hate to feel this helpless. I was nearly swimming in my despair, it was so deep. I was letting what I couldn’t do become the focus. So I shifted my train of thought and wondered what I could do.

Trevor KottI remembered Trevor Kott.

Trevor was a beautiful little boy who needed a bone marrow transplant. A match wasn’t found in time, and he died. I wanted to sign up for Trevor – or anyone like him – but I was too late. Faced with my fear and feeling useless, Trevor’s sweet little face came to mind. I realized I can’t do anything about the people that I have lost, or the ones I may lose sooner than I want. But I CAN help someone else in their battle.

I went to the National Bone Marrow Registry and signed up. I paid $52 to cover the cost of tissue typing and was sent a little kit with what looks like ginormous Q-tips. I rubbed the swabs around in my mouth a little, like I was brushing my teeth, and now they’re ready to drop in the mail.

I feel better.

I hope I will be a match for someone. If I am, I’ll give up about 30-40 hours of my time. They’ll check to verify that I am indeed a good match for that someone in need, and then the doctors will decide how to collect bone marrow from me. It will either be similar to giving blood, or it may be a simple surgical procedure where bone marrow is removed from my hip. Either way, have at it. I’ll make more. I might be sore for a few days, but within six weeks my body will replace everything I gave.

I can save someone, and it won’t hurt me to give.

I realize: I am lucky I have $52 that I can spare. I am lucky that I have been loved so well in this life that I can’t bear for anyone else not to get a chance at life, too. I am lucky that I heard about Trevor, because he helped me feel better when I was really lacking hope. I am lucky that sometimes good health is something we can share.

Thank you, Trevor, for what you gave me.

Sarah Signature

5 Responses to “Giving Back Because I Can”

  1. Myla November 7, 2007 at 3:55 pm #

    I love this post Sarah. It is so easy to focus on what we can not do or what we can not control in this world. The fact that you said, “So I shifted my train of thought and wondered what I could do”, is something that is so important and simple enough to do. We just have to remember to do it.

    Dwelling on what we can not change is easier but nothing comes of it. I think you have done a great thing becoming a bone marrow donor. It is a simple “something” for you but it may be a life changing “something” for someone else. Way to turn your outlook around!

    I will keep your family and friends in my thoughts.

  2. Headmutha November 7, 2007 at 9:44 pm #

    Sarah, I am so happy to have you here. Thank you so much for donating your time and efforts. Thank you, thank you, thank you for joining us on our mission!

  3. tarynjade November 7, 2007 at 10:00 pm #

    You have a beautiful spirit, full of love and appreciation! This post brought tears to my eyes; your words ring so true, so simple in their presentation yet so profound in their meaning. I am so happy to be working along side you for MFFO! Welcome to the team!

  4. Sarah Cooper November 7, 2007 at 11:31 pm #

    Myla – Thank you! It actually took me a while to shift my train of thought. I wallowed for too long. I hope I’ll get to donate. It would be great to think I could help someone who really needed it like that.

    Rocky – I am SO honored to be here, and I will try to be worthy.

    Tarynjade – I’m so happy to be here! I’m glad you liked the post. :o)

  5. Julie November 8, 2007 at 3:31 am #

    SARAH!!!! Yea!

    I had no idea that the “Sarah” that Rocky introduced yesterday was you…

    I’m so excited you are here. I think it’s exactly where you should be 🙂

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