Friday, December 18, 2009

A Day Of Victories

On December 6th, my team of Spirit FM listeners and friends gathered for our inaugural race, the Sunshine Challenge to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and it was definitely a day of victories.

For most 5 Ks that I've signed up for, you sign up as an individual. On the Sunshine Challenge site, there was an option to form a team. I thought, "Why not?!" I figured I'd mention it on the air a couple of times and maybe a couple of listeners would join me. I was pleasantly surprised when, by race day, my team was thirteen strong!

We had small victories: Ashley ran farther than she ever had before and I had a personal-best time. Then there were some larger victories: My teammate, Sean was the first-place finishing male. I was so impressed and proud of my team! The biggest victory of all though was for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. As we ran, there were posters along the route of children whose lives had been taken by cancer. Talk about motivation to keep running. It was a great day for a great cause.

The plan is to sign up for another race next month and keep "Abby's Spirit FM Team" up and running (no pun intended). Hopefully the team number will grow. So feel free to join in. All are welcome!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It About More than Rice Crispy Treats

Over the past few months, you've probably heard me mention donating platelets. Many people are familiar with donating blood and even if you've never done it, you know how it works. The world of platelets is something different and foreign to many.

First, let me say that if you're not a blood donor, I encourage you to pray and think about why you're not doing it. If it's because you're scared, I understand, but let the fear go. If you don't have time, I understand, but make time. If you just don't find an interest in donating, I understand, but get interested, please. One of my closest friends gave birth a couple of weeks ago and had a very near death experience. She said after she had the baby and they wheeled her into surgery, she saw the bag of blood there, ready for a transfusion. She's just one of about 5 people in my life who have needed (or come very close to needing) a transfusion. If I can name 5, you probably can too. Right there... that's enough for me to let go of any excuse - pain, fear, schedules, indifference - and roll up my sleeve.

That's blood. Now, let's talk platelets. When I go to the Florida Blood Services Donor Center I always see people watching movies. I've always known that they were donating platelets, but I never considered it. I had my platelet count tested and it turns out I have a freakishly high count, which is good! So I made the appointment.

Platelets are tiny clotting agents found in blood that are vital to people recovering from leukemia, cancer, open heart surgery and transplant surgery. Also, because chemo and radiation therapy often destroy healthy cells, these people need platelet transfusions as well.

Donating platelets is sort of like donating blood. I do it through two arms. One needle takes blood out. The blood then goes through a computerized cell separator machine, which collects the platelets. The remaining plasma and red blood cells are then returned through the other arm. It can be done through one needle if you don't have good veins on both arms. It takes quite a bit longer than a regular blood donation. It's a nice time to sit back and enjoy a movie though, or talk with God. Here are more details about donating platelets.

To be truthful with you, while it's not painful, it is a little uncomfortable. But, sometimes, God calls us to do things that make us uncomfortable, right? There are perks though. They shower me with Rice Crispy Treats and soda and I always walk out with a sweet new t-shirt (the platelet t-shirts are way cooler than the blood donor shirts). I joke with the folks there (Luis, Karen, Rachel, Laura, Becky, and Arelis- all my FBS peeps!) about how I'm just there for the Rice Crispy Treats, but that's my cool-girl front. The truth is, I love that I'm making myself a little uncomfortable, a little pained, and a little inconvenienced for a stranger who needs my help. Science is amazing and the human body is remarkable. The fact that I can give something from my own body that can help save someone else's life is a miracle to me.

I walk out of the donor center on Kennedy Blvd. feeling like a million bucks and that I was just part of a miracle. Yes, the purse full of Rice Crispy treats is nice too, but I know that God will honor my time and my gift. It's part of being a steward and I hope you'll consider doing it too. If you have any questions, please email me: I'd be honored to speak on behalf of FBS and answer any of your questions.