My Story: The Gift of Life

contributed by LB

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I loved the article about counting blessings and a grandmother's unconditional love. Her mention of being in the hospital brought back a bittersweet holiday memory to me. It was the year my terminally ill father was hospitalized and needed a blood transfusion. At the last minute, they found the O-positive type blood he required. Otherwise, he would not have lived to Christmas. (He died a year later, but I cherish that one additional holiday I got to spend with him.)

Some wonderful person gave us unconditional love in the form of donating blood. We will never know who this donor was, but I wish I could thank him or her in person!

In my father's memory, I'm asking that you remember the need to give blood. Not only do people that have been involved in an accident need blood, but also those with chronic illnesses, bleeding ulcers, cancer, heart disease, etc. need blood. If someone needs a transfusion, there's not a medicine in the world that can take the place of blood. And if it's not there, it can cause a huge problem.

This morning, I went to our local blood center and gave my 66th blood donation. I did it in memory of my dad and to try to spare another family the agonizing wait until the hospital gets blood in the right blood type in for their ailing loved one.

May I suggest to your readers who are in good health that there is no more wonderful gift they can give than to donate blood? It may be your loved one whose life is saved.

And, for those who are especially frugal, most blood centers give wonderful freebies to donors. Today, I got a t-shirt, several $5 off coupons to restaurants, a half-off admission to a nice winter display that charges $16 admission. Last fall, I received a coupon towards the admission price of an amusement park's huge Halloween attraction and a card that gave me a free meal at the local Red Lobster or Olive Garden restaurant.

In addition, if a family member or I ever need a transfusion, certain blood replacement fees may be waived. This varies from one hospital to the next or from one blood center to another. And, there is research that shows that men who give blood three times a year have a significantly reduced chance of heart attacks.

If someone has a day off, may I suggest he or she eat a hearty meal and then go donate blood? You'll feel terrific having saved some lives!

And, please make it your New Year's Resolution to regularly give. The blood has to be there in advance, tested and processed, and you never know when someone like my Dad will be in need. Blood can't be donated after a wreck, terrorist attack, etc. and do much good. It takes a full day to process it and test for AIDS and it's likely that the victim(s) will have died before this can be done.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by

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