The Gift of Life
Merry Christmas! As you give and open your gifts this year,
think about how you can contribute a bigger gift: the gift of life. Yes, moms
and dads give the gift of life each time a new baby is born, but there are many
other ways to contribute to this gift pool.
The easiest way to give a gift of life is charitable giving
to organizations that provide food, shelter, or medical care for those without.
My favorite national and international organizations in this category are the
Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and Unicef. But there are many local organizations
that focus on providing these gifts to your own neighbors. Have you ever given
blood? Our blood supply is in greatest demand during holidays. Yet the American
Red Cross reports that blood donations typically decrease during this time of
year. If you are a healthy adult, you can also talk to the Red Cross about
being a platelet donor. This kind of giving is more fun when you do it with
a friend or loved one: go together and multiply the impact of your gift.
Organ donors are givers of life for thousands of patients on the transplant
lists. Talk to your loved ones about whether you have signed organ donor cards
and even what their wishes would be. You may feel like you'd rather die than
discuss this, but your discussion may prevent someone else's premature death.
There are also life-saving organ donations that you can make while living:
you've probably heard about people who've donated their bone marrow or kidneys
but may not have ever considered what you would do in their situation. While
donating bone marrow is more involved than donating blood, it is easily replaceable.
The donor loses nothing, but gains the satisfaction of having given everything
to a needy, grateful recipient.
For couples with infertility, a positive pregnancy test would
be the best holiday gift of all. Here, egg and sperm donors are truly providing
the gift of life, one that personifies the meaning of Christmas: a new baby.
Keeping with the theme of it being better to give than to receive, people who
adopt children or take in foster children are providing an immeasurable gift:
the gift of unconditional love, the gift of a home, and the gift of a family.
These gifts are those that not only keep on giving, but that keep on giving
back, with interest, for a lifetime.
Created: 12/25/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.