Monday, August 5, 2013

Life List Item #67-Save a Life

"Life has a funny way of working things out."

I like to marvel on the way life moves and flows. One evening I was looking through Bradley's, my friend from Starbucks, Facebook photos and I happened to click on his twin sister's name. I have met Tonya once, but am not Facebook friends with her. On her timeline I saw this flier posted. 
It was the name at the bottom that caught me. Symone Surratt is one of my oldest childhood friends. We haven't been in touch in many years, aside from Facebook here and there. I have wanted to participate in a blood drive for many years and I thought my first time would be best suited supporting a friend. 

I made my appointment and a week later I arrived at the Martin Luther King Center to give blood. Being a first timer,  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. When I first saw Symone, she was crying, because she was overwhelmed with the support people were giving her and her family. Many people had turned out to help this little girl. 

Di' Juarie is Symone's oldest daughter. She is living with Sickle Cell Disease which means she has to have many blood transplants and some times can experience extreme pain. When I first saw her I was struck with how beautiful and polite she is. She seemed much more mature than her mere 11 years.  I left her to be whisked off to a small cubicle in the gym where I had my finger pricked to check my iron and was asked lots of questions. Pretty soon I was on my way to giving a pint of blood. 

When I lied on the bed a was a little scared but the Red Cross members were very good at explaining  exactly what would happen. Then Di' Juarie and her cousin came over to talk to me and thank me again for being there. She offered me her hand while the needle went into my vein. I didn't want to see the needle or the blood in the bag so I kept my eyes on them. The face that her cousin made and the combination of holding his breath, squinting his eyes, and covering his ears was indication enough that I should be looking at my own arm. After the 30 seconds of stinging went away I relaxed and had a conversation with them. 

I asked Di' Juarie about her school and what she felt like on a day to day basis. She gave me no reason to believe that her condition would ever get her down. When my bag was finally full Di' Juarie helped me sit up very slowly and make my way to the table where I would get my snack. Because I'm pretty thin I was slightly nervous I wouldn't feel too well, but luckily I was feeling just fine. While I replenished with juice, water, and Cheez-Its I caught up with Symone on the last several years of our lives. She is a mother of five children and seems to be doing a beautiful job. In my tiny glimpse into her life I saw her as a kind and patient mother. I told Symone the story of how I found her flier. It just show's that things can be found where you never expected to look. 

This post is titled as it is because sometime in my life I would hope that somehow, some way I can save a life. I asked one of the phlebotomists working on me if it was true what I had heard, that by donating blood you are saving a life. She told me it was in fact true except it is more like saving three or four lives. She told me that blood is only given when the person will die if they don't receive a donation. With this knowledge I can check this item off my life list. 

It was a special day re-connecting with an old friend and connecting with her lovely baby girl.