Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fighting Cancer... the little things that help...

Cancer is a hard hitting, devastating illness that hits about 1 in 4 Americans. 1 in 4... that's a sobering number, especially when you consider the number of people in your immediate family.

You can spring to action when someone you know and love is battling this disease... or you can do something to help those battling this menacing disease NOW.

Easy thing to do - go and give blood. I know you're not crazy about needles, but someone's life is hanging in the balance. Chemo wipes out people's normal blood cell counts, and in order to survive, a blood transfusion of healthy blood is required. These transfusions aren't a matter of choice for the cancer patient, it's a matter of life or death.

Yet only 5% of the population donates blood, and a lesser % donates on a regular basis.

I have donated blood since I was eighteen. It has always been important to me, but I have
to say there were large periods of time that elapsed where I didn't donate. I just didn't want to take the time. I have organized blood drives and done different things, but I still wasn't a regular donor.

That changed for me when I saw a young family a year or so back. A little boy about 18 months old and his mom and dad. This young mother had no hair and both she and her husband were wearing LIVESTRONG bracelets. I sat there watching them and realized how much we take our good health for granted. Wondering about my own kids and the impact it would have on them to loose their mom. Wondering about the strain on her husband with the uncertainty the future held, and wondering about her mom and dad and what it must be like to have a child fight that battle.

I decided that day that I would give blood as frequently as possible (every 8 weeks), and I would wear a LIVESTRONG bracelet proactively. I wanted to care about this disease and help, before I had a personal reason to.

The blood banks are struggling to keep up with the demand for donor blood. Patients are struggling to stay alive and fight their cancer with all their might. Little kids at Riley with Leukemia need your platelets.

The little sacrifice you make giving blood truly is the gift of life to someone else.

So I encourage you to join me - let's give together!

Marika Hamilton

ps - in the picture above I broke my personal best! As a silly game I try to beat my last time for completing my donation. My pint of blood took just 7:30 minutes. How do I race you ask... my strategy think "fast" thoughts! Works for me. :)