The first week in March is Rare Disease Awareness Week. It’s a time to learn more about the life-threatening illnesses people suffer from, but aren’t as well known as other diseases.
I want to take this time to thank some people who saw me through one such disease.
An Open Letter to My Donors:
It has been several years since I’ve needed your help—that’s all thanks to you.
There were many times when my platelet and blood levels were low, deadly low. And if it weren’t for your dedication and selflessness, those times could have meant the end for me.
There were many mornings when I didn’t want to roll out of bed and drive to the hospital for infusion. But I always stopped myself in the middle of those selfish thoughts and remembered you took the time out of your life to save mine.
I have scars where they poked me two, three or even five days a week to receive your donation, your thoughtfulness. I’ve never been so grateful for blemishes. Each one represents hours in your life, where you sat and waited patiently for your turn to give back; they’re stitched on me. A daily reminder of how far I’ve come.
I needed more than blood and platelets. I needed bone marrow too. No one could give me that, not even you. But, you kept me alive while I waited, you kept me here long enough to recover. And through some stroke of luck or prayer—some glitch in the daily operations of the universe—I did recover.
But, I wonder about you; who you are, what kind of families you have; what do you do for work? More importantly, did you lose someone who was like me? Or, did someone else save them too?
Being sick and helpless at a young age is devastating. Illness locked me out of my own life and I couldn’t understand what I’d done to deserve it. I used to spend hours crying and wondering “why me?” Now, that I’m strong again, I spend my time still wondering “why me…why am I so lucky?”
Whatever your reasons for giving your time and commitment, I thank you. I thank you. I thank you.