Make a Donation


Friday, August 17, 2012

And all you have to give is time and a little of yourself

Pillow cases 75-80 Complete. 20 to go till we reach 100.

After completing a couple of pillowcases yesterday, I went and donated blood for the NHS. This was the second time I have donated in the UK but not my second time. I have donated blood nearly every chance I could, for the last 10 years. I have also donated platelets half a dozen times whilst in college.

I have been asked if donating either of these things is painful, and to be truthful, most of the time it isn't. Saying that I have had a handful of bad experiences where the needle went in wrong and I ended up with a bruise from my wrist to my shoulder and times when donating platelets when the blood went back in under my skin rather than in the vein. Even though I have had these bad experiences I continue to go back because I know that my one donation is saving the lives of up to three people. 

For more information on donating and where to donate follow the links below:

Platelets are donated less frequently than whole blood. They are needed for more specialised reasons such as for people undergoing chemotherapy for cancer or leukaemia and severe blood disorders. This donation can take up to 2 hours to complete and you can do it every two days in the US but it is recommended that you only do it every two weeks. It is illegal in both the US and the UK to get paid for blood or platelets that will be used in humans, however, to encourage people to donate in the US, gift certificates are common. In the UK you will not be given anything, so just the knowledge that you are helping someone will have to suffice. 

For more information on platelet donations in the UK go to  or for the US. Also talk to your local hospital to point you in the right direction as there may be other blood banks operating in your area.  

Bone Marrow
The scariest of all donations has to be bone marrow. I can't imagine how painful it is to have a needle stuck into your hip bone, however the test to see if you are a match is painless. 30% of people who require a bone marrow donation can get it from a family member, and that means 70% need a total stranger to be willing to tested for compatibility. 

If you are interested there are a couple of groups in the US who register people to become donors. I suggest that you talk to your doctor or call the hospital for a recommendation on who you should use. 

If you live in the UK and want more information on donating Bone Marrow you can contact the British Bone Marrow Registry. But here is the gist of what is required: you must be a blood donor between the ages of 18-49. At your next or first donation of blood ask to be registered and they will extract an extra sample of blood to be tested. Now that I know this I will be doing this at my next donation.   

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

For the Underdog

What inspires you? We rarely wake up inspired to do something. You might catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think, "I need to lose weight" or "I should dye my hair." You might combine the thought of getting into shape with inspiration from Olympic athletes to run a race. For many people these inspiring moments never grow to be more than a temporary faze in our lives. 

I was 'wowed' by what I have seen over the last couple of weeks - how athletes have dedicated their lives and talents to become the best in their sports. I can't, however, honestly say that I was inspired. I root for the underdog. I am inspired by the underdog. When someone picks themselves up off of the ground and comes back stronger than before. I am really looking forward to the Paralympics, to see the product of dedication by people who have truly overcome great odds. Although I am still not inspired to run another race in my life time(!), I am inspired to help others and to give others the encouragement to overcome the odds set in front of them. 

Here are our most recent pillowcases.

Laura and I have had another flurry of pillowcase sewing and expect to have 80 pillowcases sewn by the end of the week (or sooner) and have them mailed off by the end of next week. Last night in a response to some (much appreciated) owl requests we started cutting out a few more owl patterns and expect to be very busy in the next week putting them together!

For anyone (in America or otherwise) interested in buying an owl as a donation, please contact us and we would be glad to make one for you. We use all of the money from the owls to purchase fabric, sewing supplies, and pay for shipping. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"Being happy is the best cure of all diseases!"

To date, Laura and I have completed 70 pillowcases and 60 of those are already on the beds of  children who could use a smile.

Every year approximately 1,500 children in the UK between the ages of 0 and 14 years old are diagnosed with cancer. The good news is that 75% of these children will be cured. We all know someone who has gone through cancer treatment, either family members or friends, and we know how difficult and taxing this treatment can be. It's sad that anyone, especially a child, would have the misfortune of having to undergo cancer treatment at all because children shouldn't be sitting in hospitals, they should be outside running around and playing games. 

Hunter 'Patch' Adams said,  "You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you'll win no matter what the outcome." Although we feel it's important to find cures for these horrible diseases, we also feel it's equally important to bring comfort and joy to the lives of the children we are helping.

Here's some food for thought -
“Remember laughing? Laughter enhances the blood flow to the body’s extremities and improves cardiovascular function. Laughter releases endorphins and other natural mood elevating and pain-killing chemicals, improves the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to internal organs. Laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body fight off disease, cancer cells as well as viral, bacterial and other infections. Being happy is the best cure of all diseases!”