"'Tis better to give than to receive." As a child I never really understood this phrase. How can someone say that giving a gift is better than receiving one? I have to say that I been able to rationalize this as I have grown, however I still believe that the gifts I have received are better then any gift I have ever given.
In April 2006, I received the gift of life. I was with a group of friends when one of their vehicles rolled and hit me from behind. I was spun around, pinned against the outside of a barn board garage across my stomach. I remember the pressure, the pain and the fear that I felt. I can close my eyes and see the terrified looks on the faces of my friends as I sat with the truck on top of me.
I was rushed to Stratford General Hospital (SGH) where my bruised liver began to swell. It ripped on the emergency room table and I hemorrhaged into my belly. The doctors and nurses at SGH spent hours trying to repair my damaged liver, but it was more than they could heal with their skilled hands. After 13 units of blood were pumped into my veins through my heart and out of my belly onto the operating room floor, I was rushed to London Health Sciences Centre. On arrival, my family was told that the outlook was grim. I had less then a five per cent chance of survival. My mom took a minute to stroke my matted hair, to hold my hand, to pray.
I was in a coma for nine days. Machines gave me breath and pumped my heart for 14 days until I was strong enough to take on the monumental task again. I was hospitalized for 26 days and underwent multiple surgeries and procedures. I received a total of 48 units of blood.
I had amazing doctors and nurses who pieced my broken body back together, but they would have been helpless without the 48 selfless donors who gave the greatest gift, by donating their blood. A gift that is truly from the heart.
Every minute of every day someone is Canada needs blood. That’s why Canadian Blood Services is rallying communities across the country to come together this holiday season as a way to show that collectively, blood donations can make a positive impact on someone’s life.
I grew up in Stratford. I went to school at Shakespeare, Juliet and Central. I spent my winters bowling at Mike’s Lanes and my summers playing softball at Anne Hathaway. I am one of many Canadians who will receive a blood transfusion in their lifetime.
This year, Canadian Blood Services estimates it will need to collect 98,000 blood donations nationally and 300 locally between December 3 and January 2 to help meet hospital needs. Your gift will help a hospital patient within five days. During the season of giving, book an appointment to donate blood and give someone their holiday miracle.
Please join me at these upcoming blood donor clinics in Stratford: Thursday, Dec. 20 at the Rotary Complex, 3:30-7:30 p.m., and Dec. 26 at the Christian Reformed Church, 12:30-5:30 p.m. Call 1-888-2-DONATE or visit www.blood.ca to book an appointment.
Krista-Leigh (Glass) Shiell