Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How to save a life...

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I am taking a break from my normal type of post to write about something of GREAT importance to me.

In order to sit for your child life exam you must complete a "volunteer internship" (in that there is no pay) anywhere from 15-20 weeks long. This internship coupled with your coursework is what paves the way for your Child Life profession to begin. If you don't even know what the heck a child life specialist is or are interested in becoming one then you can check it out here.

I was selected to complete my child life internship at Cook Children's Medical Center. I loved every minute of it! While at Cook Children's, I rotated through three units. Each of my experiences definitely challenged me in more ways then ever imagined...I really think this experience is what solidified my love for the profession. While on the Oncology rotation, I spent some time in the bone marrow unit working with children and families that were either recovering or eagerly awaiting a bone marrow transplant-one that could potentially save their child's life. I would love to tell you that all of my patients had fantastic matches and incredible recoveries, but unfortunately the statistics themselves tell you how impossible that would be. I simple terms, I now know that angels do live on earth and come in very small packages.

Which gets me to my point. Did you know that as of 9/16/2008 there are 99,571 moms, dads, brothers, sisters, etc. on the waiting list to receive a bone marrow transplant? Sadly only 30 to 40% of patients needing a bone marrow transplant have a compatible donor in their family. As a result they have to be put on the donor list. If there is a match they will be eligible for a transplant. And this is a REALLY big IF. Although BMTs now save thousands of lives each year, 70 percent of those needing a BMT using donor marrow are unable to have one because a suitable bone marrow donor cannot be found.

Now this may not speak to you and that is COMPLETELY okay. Just the word 'bone marrow' and all the adorable little images of children I once knew pop into my head. I know that everyone has their own areas of interest. But, if in case this is "your bag baby" I didn't want you to miss out on an AMAZING opportunity to potentially save a life...FOR FREE.

Through September 22, the National Marrow Donor Program is waving the normal fees for registration (usually $52). You can completely register online, they send you the kit in the mail, you swab the Q-tips in your mouth for some samples and send it back (postage even paid!) HOW SIMPLE IS THAT!?!? If you are interested... here is the info. For it to be FREE though you have to do this step by step.

Go to http://www.marrow.org/. On the right side of the screen, under "Events" click on the link that says "NASCAR Foundation Drive" About 3/4 of the way down that page, click "Join online now" Fill in the online info and the Promo Code will automatically generate.

I really think that it is incredibly easy to desensitize yourself to the individuals that are facing such horrible illnesses. Not because you are an unkind person, but because it just isn't a part of your daily world right now. I get that. But how confident can you be that one day won't come where perhaps yourself, your child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild might be adding their name into the BMT waiting list? Then you would definitely be relying on strangers to make your battle, their battle too.

I just believe that it could be such an amazing gift to be able to share life with a stranger. Kelly thinks it might move him up a little in line to get in to Heaven... again, what ever floats your boat.

Please comment me if you would like ANY other information about this! I could talk all day about it...don't worry...I won't.

1 comment:

Myriah said...

Julie, thank you so much for posting this! I have been wanting to register for this. Adam is a donor because of one of his best friends. Adam's groomsman, Mychajlo, couldn't attend our wedding. His wife was struggling with this disease. Sadly she died while we were on our honeymoon. She was only 25 years old. It's heartbreaking.
Thanks for posting this...you are such a special person. Miss you!