Saturday, February 10, 2007

Your Hot Body

by Sandra

That’s right, your body is hot. H-O-T. Even after a couple of kids with sagging parts and stretchmarky parts and parts that have generally re-distributed themselves, it is a hot commodity. In both the traditional sense of: I-love-my-curves-or-lack-of-curves-and-that-self-confidencs-makes-me-sexy kind of way. But also in the: my-body-is-hot-because-it-can-do-a lot-of- good kind of way.


That’s right girlfriend, use that body of yours.


We’ve all heard those “it’s in you to give” commercials and the 1-888-2-DONATE number that I know almost as well as Pizza Pizza’s. Those ads play constantly because our blood banks need blood. They really, really do. In fact, their website reports that every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood. A cancer patient requires roughly 8 units of blood every week. A car accident victim could need as much as 50 units of blood. A liver transplant recipient often must receive up to 100 units of blood.


It doesn’t cost you any money and doesn’t take a ton of time. But it is one of the most tangible ways you can help people. It is literally life saving. And there are blood donor clinics happening all over the city. Basically if you are between 17 and 71, haven’t donated in the past 56 days, weigh at least 110 lbs, and are in good health then they want you. If you have had a pregnancy within the last 6 months you need to wait but otherwise, most mamas are absolutely great candidates


And its not just blood you can donate through Canadian Blood Services. They are also urging people to consider donating plasma, and platelets and become part of a bone marrow registry. I didn’t know you could be part of the “Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry” until today. I also didn’t know that fewer than 30 percent of patients who need bone marrow transplants are able to find a compatible donor within their own family. Fewer than 30 percent. I am going to register. Today. Now if only someone could use my wrinkles, I’d gladly donate those too.


But what if you faint at the sight of a needle? Your body is still hot, hot, hot. I wish I could suggest you can donate breast milk, but at present there is only 1 clinic in Canada and that is in Vancouver (there used to be 23 in total before cut backs and the tainted blood scandal). But there are some good people working very hard to try and get one going here in T.O. I’ll keep you posted.


We can’t forget about your gorgeous hair. This one is a win-win. You get a fabulous new look by cutting 10 inches off your long tresses and someone in need receives an equally fabulous wig when you donate to a great organization like Locks of Love or the local Angel Hair for Kids.


And then there are organ donations. Here is where I get down on bended knee with that look you can’t avert your eyes from and I urge that you to really, really think about what I am about to ask you to do. It doesn’t involve a needle or an extreme haircut. It just involves signing your name to a card and communicating your wishes to your family. Become an organ donor. You can download a cute card to fill out and keep in your wallet and give to your family here or here.


Did you know that there are over 4000 people waiting to receive an organ transplant in Canada? Or that five people die each week waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs. Those numbers might feel abstract, but for many of us they are painful reminders.


One of my best friends in the world fell madly in love with an incredible man. They had one of those epic romances that rival the greatest of movies. The look in her eyes was the epitome of true happiness. Shortly after they were married, he was admitted to the hospital to treat his Cystic Fibrosis and this time they were told that he’d have to stay and wait for a double lung transplant. So my friend left her job and sold her house and spent every waking moment by his side in the hospital. Loving him. And Waiting. Waiting for the lungs that would give him new life so they could start theirs together. They waited for more than a year and those lungs never came. He died, in her arms, in his 30’s in November of 1999. It was the single most heart breaking memorial service I have ever attended. His passing touched hundreds of people. And it was that day that I am ashamed to say I only signed my organ donor card for the very first time. And it was that day that I became an advocate for organ donation.


We don’t want to think of the idea of what happens to our parts when we are gone. We don’t want to think about going. We figure our family will just do the right thing and know that organ donation would be what we want. But sometimes, when you are sad with loss the idea of letting the doctors remove organs isn’t where their head is at. So sign the card. Tell your family. Make it really clear. Because that solitary act can save a life. A life like my friend lost.


And what’s the point of having a hot body if you can’t share it?

___________________________________________



When she is not raising her 5-year-old-boy-genius, Sandra is an ex-advertising exec who spends her days working with a grassroots feminist charity. She is also an aspiring writer, chocolate-loving vegetarian … and a blogger.

8 comments:

Mouse said...

Great post!

When Trillian and I went through our second-parent adoption, we had to get all of our estate planning in order. A bit depressing to think about all of that, but we were forced to talk out all those things that are so important, but often left until too late.

I also participated in a Cuts for Cancer event last year. I'm growing out my hair again and figure that after the next baby comes, instead of cutting it off myself in frustration about 4 months post-partum, I'll try to donate it again.

metro mama said...

I've never been adverse to sharing my body ;). These are some great ideas for some more altruistic-type sharing.

Lara said...

what a wonderful post, S. thanks for giving us all a proverbial kick in the rear to get us moving and doing some good. me and my hot bod are heading out to do just that.

Ali said...

i'm seriously considering locksw of love...do you know anyone who has donated their hair to it??

Lisa b said...

Love it!
Though I am a chicken when it comes to needles, and lucky as I have spent enough time in the UK that blood services does not want me due to BSE, I absolutely know how many people can be helped through one person who donates their organs.
In the past the card used to come with your drivers license so I encourage my grade 11s to sign theirs and let their families know their wishes. Its morbid in a way but important and they like to bring up that kind of stuff to freak out their parents.

BreathinSteven said...

Hi Sandra!

You TOTALLY ROCK! And our bodies ARE hot!

I love what you said about organ donation, and blood and platelet donation, and Locks of Love...

My princess donates platelets regularly -- She sits in a chair and they pop a needle in both arms -- take her blood from one arm and pherese the platelets and give her blood back into her other arm... It takes 2-3 hours... I sometimes try to get there early to pick her up so that I can sit in the waiting room and chat up some people filling out forms and waiting to donate... I love to ask these people if they ve ever met anyone who has received their blood -- then I explain to them that I once needed five units... And that it was someone like them who saved my life -- then I show them a picture of a beautiful girl from Iowa...

I'm involved in one of those "epic romances" you spoke of -- I so wish your friend and her husband with cystic fibrosis had made it like my princess and I did... I wish he'd have gotten his lungs and experienced what it feels like to really breathe -- After spending our lives with crappy, cystic fibrosis lungs, it would have just blown his freakin' mind, like it does mine every single day...

Sandra... Your beautiful post will make people think -- It will help people realize what they can do for someone... Even if just one person reading it makes a decision -- maybe someone won't watch their epic love die in their arms...

My beautiful lungs came from a 17-year-old girl named Kari -- seven years ago I was dying in respiratory failure after struggling almost 40 years with cystic fibrosis... Seven years ago, at dinner with her family, Kari brought up organ donation and told them she did not understand why someone would not want to help someone else when they were through with life here... Two weeks later, swapping driver's licenses with her sister -- Kari's Mom said she "jumped all over" her sister because her sister didn't have organ donor indicated on her license... Kari was athletic and healthy as a horse -- but two weeks later she passed due to an anyurism... And at that devastating moment her family had a decision to make -- but Kari had already helped them with that decision... In April, 2000, Kari brought her big, beautiful smile into my life when she and her family gave me both of her lungs...

When we started dating, I told my wife I would be VERY lucky to live ten years... and that I could get a bug and die in six months... Kari gave me so much more time with my princess...

And this breathin' stuff with "real" lungs after 40 years with not-so-hot lungs is incredible -- It's been almost seven years and I think about it every single day -- And I think about Kari every single day... I can see her smile when I close my eyes...

My princess helped me build a little website with some of my story, but mostly to honor Kari... It's at:

www.ClimbingForKari.org

I have no idea what planted the seed that organ donation was a good idea into Kari's beautiful mind seven years ago -- it may have been a friend or an experience... It may have been reading something just like you wrote that gave her the idea that saved my life, and so many others...

Thank you again, Sandra...

Love,

Steve

crazymumma said...

Nice to read you again...
Such a tragic story...

Great ideas Sandra.
TOTALLY phobic of needles, so no blood donations. Hair not good. so not that. So, instead I run and raise money for organizations thru pledges.

kittenpie said...

I love this post!

I sent an 18-inch ponytail to Locks of Love when I cut off my hair before library school. (I was NOT going to be the librarian in a bun!)

I was so disappointed to hear there was no breast milk bank here too, because I threw out freezers full of milk over the year I pumped, and could have fed somebody else's kid too. I hope we ge there soon.