I got up before dawn today. Got into a car on a cold, dark Sunday morning, and headed for Monroeville. It's about a 35 minute drive from my house. Enough time for me to think, and so, here is this blogpost.
Getting up early isn't really sacrifice. Not when compared to real honest to God sacrifice. Soldiers signing up for duty they know is dangerous, police, firefighters and first responders race towards harm while others run away. This is sacrifice, and in the best of times we don't have to witness this too often. Lately we have witnessed it far to much.
But it is in the many smaller sacrifices that we can change the world around us, just a little. Nudge the good works needle just a bit in the right direction, so my alarm went off, and I got up to do my part.
I'm no hero, but off to Monroeville. Destination? The Pittsburgh Central Blood Bank. The cause. A platelet donation, directed at a young girl from our area, Bella Carabin. http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/blood-donation-shortage-straining-local-girls-canc/njkT5/ Bella is receiving treatment for a reoccurrence of a cancerous tumor in her brain. When she first needed platelets, none were available. This set her back, until her mom and caring people in our community where able to raise awareness and in turn, get folks out to donation centers all around Pittsburgh to help. Because of this, donations have spiked, but because of the holidays and the onset of flu season, they lag far behind where they need to be to serve patients like Bella.
What is the sacrifice, you ask?
I'm not going to sugarcoat the process. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable, although for me the last three or four have been really great. It takes time, usually about 2 hours, but sometimes a little longer. The seats are now way more comfortable than they used to be, and there is ample ways to distract yourself with the improvements of WiFi, and High Def TV's for movies or other viewing. All in all, the Central Blood Bank is doing everything they can to make the donation process enjoyable.
So again, you ask, where is the sacrifice?
I started donating during Jaime's illness, and there is no where else that I think of her more. Jaime received my platelets a day before she decided to end her treatments, so she quite literally took a piece of me with her. Luckily for me, she left far more behind. Her courage in the face of her fight motivates me to continue to schedule these donations. If my platelets can help someone, and I'm able to donate, then I will. Imagine the patients all over Pittsburgh who would benefit from an increase in blood and platelet donations, and then schedule one for yourself. Giving becomes it's own gift. Helping the sick is sacrifice. We can move the needle.
In the past week we have witnessed enough bad. Small sacrifice can stem the tide. Be a force for good, for Bella, and all those in need. What's two hours on a Sunday morning? Sacrifice.
You can join Bella's warriors on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1542177946052814/
or learn how you can donate blood or platelets at http://www.centralbloodbank.org/