Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blood Drives, Hospital Visits, Gratitude

For the past three years, I have been blessed to organize a blood drive for the Red Cross to honor a little girl, who in second grade, lost her battle with cancer. Together with the PTA at our school, we have this annual blood drive to Be Brave like Brooke. We do this to honor her courage, her strength, and to give hope to others who are need of lifesaving blood.

I figure that, if a little girl can endure cancer treatments, I can endure a few moments of pain to give lifesaving blood. I really hate needles. I really, really do. On top of that, I have bad veins which are practically non-existent. Flubotomists have cried over my arms. At each of my three deliveries, they called in the best of the best to start my IV.

However, I now give blood regularly. I go knowing that it will be hard, that I will have to be deliberate in asking for the best "stick," and that I might have a few rolling needles before the blood flows into the donor bag. That's OK.

In actuality, it's really not that bad in comparison. I have nothing to complain about. I've never needed blood, but someday I might.

For now, I consider it an honor to bleed for others. The big bruise I get for days afterwards are a reminder to pray for those who need my blood because of trauma, illness, or cancer. To think that I might be saving their life seems like such a big reward for such a small price.

Today, a young man, my sons age, is in the Pediatric ICU recovering from double pneumonia and strep A. He has had a very rough few days and has a long road ahead of him to recover. His parents are spending hours in a hospital on pins and needles while our family for the most part is going on with our lives. Beyond praying and lifting them up there is little we can do for them right now. Of course, Chocolate Chip Cookies always seem to help!

When we visited the family on Sunday, I told them that they were in the best place getting the best care . While we would never wish them to get to know the hospital that well, we are glad it's there for them.

When A was two and had her tonsils and adenoids removed at that same Children's Hospital, we fell in love with the staff, the facility, and care we received. However, it was our fervent prayer we would never need to get to know them too well. During our short visit, it was obvious that some kids spent alot of their childhood there and knew the hospital frontwards and backwards. It's one of those places you are happy to have little or no knowledge of because being there means that someone is sick or hurt or suffering.

My friend whose daughter we hold this annual blood drive in honor of has walked those halls. Today she carries on with a strength and grace that only God could give a mother who has said goodbye to her daughter. Her grief, while still a part of her life now, has joy mixed along side it.

She is Brave Like Brooke.

Giving up a Saturday to organize a blood drive, shedding my own blood regardless of the pain or fear, it's the least that I can do.

Maybe in more accurate terms it's something I desire to do to show gratitude to God for all he's done for me. Gratitude that for now I have three healthy children and a healthy husband. That's more than enough God. Thank You.

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