Give the greatest gift of all, blood

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 17, 2011

I don’t want anything for Christmas. Well, other than the shelf I asked my son-in-law, Frank, to make for me, there’s nothing else I want. And except for that bedside organizer I showed Lauren while we were shopping. “Why do you need this?” my daughter asked.

“I could put my phone there at night. Right now I shove it between my mattress and box spring.” She gave me the “are you serious” look and realized I was, yet wouldn’t let me buy it.

“Surely I can find a nicer one than this,” she said. Lauren gave me frequent updates of her quest until she finally found one she wanted me to have. But really, now there is nothing else I want. I have much more fun selecting and giving gifts to others and have found Act 20:35 to be true in my life: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

If there’s anything my children want to do for me this Christmas, I’d like them to donate blood. I’ve read December is one of the slowest months for blood donations. This is likely due to the hectic Christmas season and people running around looking for things like cute bedside organizers. I will always be grate-

ful to the people who took the

time to donate blood when I need-

ed it, even in the month of December.

Eleven months of chemotherapy often left me in need of blood. I have no idea how many pints of blood and platelets my body desperately sucked out of those plastic bags that hung securely on the metal poles near my hospital bed during that time. Because of the generosity of blood donors — some family, some friends and many anonymous — it was always available.

One night in particular stands out in my memory. I was feverish, exhausted from throwing up, too weak to pick up my hair that was falling out in clumps and agonizing over my hands and feet that were painfully burnt because of the chemotherapy. Michael took me to the emergency room, where I sat in a wheelchair with many others in need of immediate care. Suddenly, I turned my husband and said, “I’m about to faint.” 

That whisper took me to the front of the line, and before I knew it, the doctor was examining me. She took one look at my pale face and announced, “You need blood.” That night I received the blood products that my body lacked. 

Somewhere today, while you are reading this, someone is in need. No amount of vitamins, antibiotics or superb medical care will take the place of a blood transfusion. Nothing replaces blood but more blood. According to the American Red Cross, only three out of every 100 people are blood donors. If you are one of those three, thank you for your gift. You will never know the lives you’ve helped.

So really and truly, I would be thrilled if my children passed up the mall and donated blood this week. But if Frank already made that shelf, I will graciously accept it.

Ronny may be reached at