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My Christmas Gift

Every year I set out with great goals regarding how much I’m going to volunteer for worthy causes, how much money I’m going to give to help those in need and how much less I am going to consume in an effort to help the environment… Well, like all resolutions, I could do better.

But there is one thing that I do on a fairly regular basis – I donate blood. This is quite the donation, it requires you to be healthy and above a certain age and weight. You can’t have a cold, you can’t have been to Africa recently or Europe for more than 5 years. You can’t have taken certain medications, etc. There are a lot of hurdles to pass but I go through them because this is something I can do to make a difference, to help others.

My blood type is O+, I am the universal blood donor, everyone can take my blood. Plus I am something called Cytomegalovirus negative, which means that newborns and cancer patients can take my blood.

I wasn’t sure what Cytomegalovirus was or why it was supposedly so rare. All I knew is that the Red Cross has told me that’s what I am and that they really really want my blood because of it. So, not knowing, I looked it up.

Here’s a brief definition: Between 50% and 80% of adults in the United States are infected with CMV by 40 years of age.  Cytomegalovirus is a member of the herpes virus family, which includes herpes simplex viruses and the viruses that cause Chicken Pox (VZV/Varicella Zoster Virus) and infectious mononucleosis (Epstein Barr Virus). According to: http://accessclinical.com/cytomegalovirus.aspx?gclid=CNz93bHz6J4CFSgVagodb1L1_g

Wow. Now you know a lot about me. Very personal. I hope this doesn’t become awkward between us.

My arm, bandaged after my donation

Who knew this was such a prevalent disease? 50 – 80% is pretty high. So I guess I’m pretty lucky. But this blog is not about CMV. It’s about the Christmas gift I feel best about giving this year. The one that you know no one is going to ask for the receipt for in order to return it. The gift you know they really will be happy to receive. The gift that really does keep on giving. And I’m proud to be giving it, not just now, during the holidays, but as often as I can.

So though I may have a long way to go to get to that place where I feel comfortable about my philanthropy but it’s a start and a start that I really like.

I wish you all happy holidays. Thank you for reading my blog this year, my first year as a blogger. I look forward to writing for your reading pleasure in 2010. Happy next decade!

Best,
Zena 🙂

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2 comments on “My Christmas Gift

  1. Hey cousin of mine! I adore your generous heart! I too am O+ and CMV negative! Kudos to you for giving blood. I try and give every 3 months or so as well. I always figure it makes sense to give something that I can replace easily and really don’t need. As well, as I am about a pint low, it’s like a mini weight loss so I can justify eating those sugar cookies and not feel bad. So win-win!

  2. well I am grateful that you do this Zena. For so many in the past the *gift* of blood as a giver or a receiver ended up in long term tragedy from poisoned/toxic blood aka Hep C. Government likes to call it tainted but the horror and devastation Hep C has caused from blood transfusions is devastating. However these days the *gift* of blood is truly something that is treasured from the heart as it is screened and safe and the gift of life for the recipient as well as the donor. I have been turned away as there is a medication or condition I have so that he Red Cross sent me a letter I couldn’t be a donor. So I am grateful that someone like you – a kind healthy person – gives a chance of life to others. Merry Christmas kiddo – you have probably made someone else’s year Merry as a result

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