Saving Lives One Life at a Time

On one of the technical blogs I follow, written by Brad Abrams, he wrote of becoming a bone marrow donor.  He described how his donation (described in this post here) would give a 44-year-old woman, unknown to him both as to identity and location in the world, a 40% chance of surviving a rare form of leukemia, versus certain death.

He wrote:

I have not often prayed specifically for someone I do not know, but my thoughts have been with her these last few weeks.  I don’t know if she is a mom, an aunt, a sister-in-law.  But I bet she has a wedding, graduation, or birthday to go to.  With this treatment she has a 40% chance of living.  Not fantastic odds, but way better than her chances without it.

Now this is something that I wish I could do.  Unfortunately, I cannot even give blood in the normal case — they won’t take it!  Now, this isn’t because I actually have some communicable disease that would affect someone receiving my blood, but because during my US Army service I had a 3-year tour of duty in Western Europe.  Why should this be a problem, you ask?  Well, this is because I was there during a period of time where I may have become silently infected with the prions that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or more colloquially, “mad cow disease”.  Presumably there is no way to detect whether or not I am a carrier, so they cannot accept my blood. I guess one consolation to me is this: if I am consumed by cannibals, then my revenge might be that they go mad as cows. Heh.

Anyway, I used to give blood from time to time, especially when I was concious of a need in the community, but had grown lax in the last several years, so when I went in to donate one day when the bloodmobile came to work, intending to get back in the habit, I was surprised by this new wrinkle.

I guess my message to anyone who might read this blog post is: please consider becoming a blood donor!  There is always a need, and for a little inconvenience you receive a great reward: knowing you have made a difference in someone’s life.  I would do it if I could, but since I can’t, I am suggesting you might want to stand in for me.

In the meantime, Moo!

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