Last week, I was reading my William Peace University quarterly bulletin, and I noticed a small article about one of my fellow alumni, Courtney Frye, who donated bone marrow to a young girl suffering greatly from a life-threatening illness. I read this article with great interest, since I have been on the reverse side having benefited from a kidney transplant. She remarked at how great she felt knowing that she helped bring a normal life to this young lady. It was quite inspiring, and I am normally not inspired by the William Peace University quarterly magazine.
This young lady graduated around 2005. I remember seeing her name a number of times, but I don’t think I ever met her. Yet in just a few paragraphs about her donation, I felt a connection to her. I felt a desire to find a public forum and read it so everyone could hear. In fact, if I knew the right people, I would have President Obama read it during the State of the Union.
I know from personal experience what organ, tissue and blood donation can do for people. I am grateful everyday for my gift given on Oct. 23. While I have expressed repeatedly my gratitude to Felesia for her angelic generosity, I can’t forget that I have benefited from blood donations. On more than one occasion, I have received blood from some unknown person who just decided to give. I haven’t really talked about this donation, but it was also part of the very process that has helps keep me alive today.
I have also been one of those people who has donated blood before. I did it back when I was a senior in high school. I don’t know why I wanted to do it. I guess some of my peers were doing it, and I thought I probably should too. I think I also wanted to get out of class too. I remember it only took about 20 or 30 minutes, and I had a snack before I left the American Red Cross bus. A few months later, I got a note from the American Red Cross saying that my blood had helped save a life, and I also found out my blood was A positive.
Now, I haven’t the slightest clue whether my blood was actually used. With all of my health problems now, I continue to wonder. Yet, at that moment, I felt really good knowing that I had helped someone on their journey.
Since today is National Donor Day and Valentine’s Day, I really wish more people would find out for themselves how good it feels to help save a life through organ, tissue and blood donation. It may require some effort on your part, but it means the world to the people who survive and thrive in it as a result. Please do your part by becoming a living donor, a blood donor or putting that beautiful red heart on your driver’s license.
Katie Holland can be reached by email at email@example.com.