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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.

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