June 14th is World Donor Day. A day to thank those who volunteer to give blood for no reason but to help. Chances are you have heard of a person needing blood…or maybe you haven’t. If you have not, let me introduce you to someone.
Meet Linsey. Linsey has two beautiful little girls and has moved from Hawaii to continue to raise them. About six months after I meet Linsey, I sat with her in my living room, cutting fleece with very dull scissors for our children’s Girl Scout troop. She tells me she has a blood disease that is generally reserved for the very old. Her father has it also and she has come here to get a bone marrow transplant in hopes it will save her life.
Not long after this her father passes away from this disease and Linsey finds a match. Sorrow and hope. I believe whole-heartedly she will overcome. There is too much life in her, too much positivity and joy in her family. Picking up our children toward the end of school, she tells me she cannot be the treasurer or the cookie mom next year because she knows she will be in recovery. Of course, I understand and reply, “Don’t even worry about it. When you get through this, we will just pick up then.”
Somewhere around this time, Linsey places a picture on Facebook, with these words attached:
“Do you ever wonder where your blood goes when you donate? Sure, it goes to emergency rooms and OR’s to help with trauma patients. It also goes to people like me. A mother, a nurse, whose bone marrow is failing and needs help to keep my hemoglobin up. Thank you all you blood donors. #blooddonorsrock.”
That day I realized giving blood wasn’t to a faceless person. This blood was allowing a mom to have another day or week with her children. And this blood is at a shortage.
One would think we should know that before – but you don’t comprehend it until you are looking at your friend as she sits casually and tells you, “I need a bone marrow transplant to work to save my life and I need the blood in the meantime.” You don’t really recognize the gravity until you look at her child and have to come to terms with the strength an eight-year-old has to show to simply go on, daily, and does without so much as a single complaint.
After the bone marrow transplant, Linsey spent the better part of the next year in the hospital, in ICU, and in a very bad place. Not one time did I ever hear a negative word from her family. They carried on and hoped and showed humility and thankfulness for each day with their mama. Linsey said to me at one point, “I have something for you,” and I brushed it off. This wasn’t what I wanted her to think of. I just wanted her to know she was cared for, and even though she was still new to this town, and we were in her corner.
These years later, I still don’t know what Linsey was referencing but I cannot help but believe that the gift she gave me was one of unmeasurable depths and truths that no human words can reflect. After all, this was the person who, as she was in the hospital on her birthday and Mother’s Day, posted, “There are blessings everywhere.”
Linsey faced her reality with courage and levelheadedness. She told me what she was up against but without pity or despair, but in the same way one would say, “I need to find a new school for my child.” Serious but with a plan. I knew Linsey for only a few years and in that time, her imprint on my heart is profound. Her admiration for her children, her gratefulness, and insight into the world around her. Today, almost two years after she left this world, her mark on her family and then theirs on the community shines on.
Because of donors, because of people who for no other reason but to do the right thing, this allowed her two children under the age of nine to have a few more good memories of their mom. It allowed us to know her, even for a moment, but because of that moment, we were changed.
So today – give. Give to allow a mom the chance to be with her kids. Give to allow the child the chance to grow. Give so that all those who you do not even know, you may one day have the chance to.
Due to a recall in blood bags, Hoxworth is needing many more donors to meet the demand for platelets. To schedule an appointment, call 513-451-0910. The entire process will take a little more than an hour, assuming qualification based off a questionnaire and weight criteria. You can donate up to 24 times a year.
If you want to give in a name, Hoxworth has Linsey’s donor number on file – 1443. Feel free to donate in the memory of a mom who was quiet enough that you may have passed her by, but to know her, you met strength and love that was lasting.