I'm going to break the mold with this post and not talk about APEX. Instead, I'm going to talk about something which is, simply, more important.
Most of us go through our lives without ever having to think about the constant miracle happening within our bodies–the continual generation of new blood cells. Every now and then, however, something goes wrong (cancer, burns, accidents, etc.), and we need more than our bodies are able to generate. Every day, people in these situations all over the world are saved because someone took the time to donate.
My mother was one of those people. When I was five, she was diagnosed with lymphoma; the doctors expected her to only last a few years. Through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she was able to beat the cancer into remission twice. Ten years later, the cancer returned; knowing the chances of a third remission were slim, my parents decided to try an experimental bone marrow transplant. After having her stem cells harvested, she went through an intensive round of treatment designed to eliminate every fast-growing cell in her body. Then her stem cells were replaced, in the hopes that they would allow her body to replace the bone marrow cells which had died during the treatment.
The process was a mixed success; the cancer went into a third remission, but was not eliminated, and she died five years later–twelve years ago this month. Her body never fully recovered; she needed transfusions of red blood cells and platelets on roughly a weekly basis. Without people who selflessly donated time after time, those five years would not have been possible.
As I write this, I'm sitting in a hospital chair, donating a unit of platelets. If you already donate, thanks; if you haven't, please talk to your doctor about becoming a donor. Whole blood takes about five to ten minutes to donate–and it can make a lifetime of difference.
This post in honor and loving memory of Carolyn Gale.