Most of you have heard me bang on about social kindness, charity fatigue, and how I don’t think you have to be rich to be a philanthropist.
Well here is one of my favourite cash-poor person’s gift to the world: giving blood.
And here’s one reason why it’s so amazing. It only takes about 45 minutes of your day and can help save the lives of up to three people.
One in three people will require blood at some point in their lives, however only one in thirty actually donate.
I have to admit, every time my appointment at the Australian Red Cross rolls around, I am ALWAYS too busy and it would be very easy for me to justify a cancellation, just like I do with my gym membership. Everyday.
Yet each time I donate blood, I am reminded how much of a difference it makes.
At my last visit to the Red Cross I decided to donate plasma instead. It takes a bit longer than regular blood donation – around 2 hours – but it was the message I got from a friend that night that made it all worthwhile:
“Thank you Tara for giving plasma, if it weren’t for people like you who donate, I couldn’t have kissed my kids goodnight tonight”
Meet the person who sent that message, Bernadette Vella.
Now, I used to describe myself as ‘busy’ and also ‘good at multi-tasking’. That was until I met Bernadette in 2008.
Bernadette was juggling being a single mother of two small children, working as an IT consultant AND had recently co-founded a charity helping support mums diagnosed with cancer, Mummy’s Wish.
In addition to all of this, Bernadette herself was also very sick, having been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In fact, Bernadette started Mummy’s Wish from her hospital bed and called the charity Mummy’s Wish because her wish is that there was no need for such a charity to exist.
The day I met Bernadette she asked if she could please multi-task and meet at the hospital while she received plasma. Now THAT is what I really call multi-tasking!
Bernadette will be on transfusions for the rest of her life and credits plasma donors for being the only reason she can kiss her kids goodnight each night -hence her comment to me that day. Initially Bernadette received plasma every three weeks, but now only needs plasma every four weeks.
To find out if you are eligible to give blood or plasma contact your nearest Australian Red Cross Blood Service.
Next time you think you are having a bad day, make an appointment to go and give blood or better still plasma. I bet it will make you feel grateful for everything you have.
If you can’t donate blood/plasma here are some other ways you can help:
1. Babysit for a friend to enable them to give blood / plasma;
2. Forward, retweet (twitter), reshare (facebook) this blog post to your friends, family and contacts to encourage THEM to donate;
3. Donate cash to Mummy’s Wish charity and help a mummy somewhere dealing with the fight of their life.