I have a new friend who I met through CaringBridge; her name is Gina Cousineau, and she is a powerhouse of a mother, with a mission: she wants to get people to sign up with the National Bone Marrow Registry, so that if someone needs a bone marrow transplant, they will have a second chance at life.
Gina's beautiful youngest son, Evan, was diagnosed with ALD. This disease is very deadly, but Evan and his family had hope because he had the possibility of a bone marrow transplant. To learn more about Evan's story, check his CB page at www.caringbridge.org/visit/evancousineau, and his Entourage site at http://web.mac.com/ginacinsc/Evans_Entourage/Welcome.html.
Tragically, Evan passed away in November of last year. Gina has started a campaign to Save Lives in Evan's Honor, and I invite you to watch this video to learn about what a difference you can make, and to see if you would like to get on board. Remember to turn on the sound. You might want to grab a tissue, too.
Another way that you can help is by DONATING BLOOD!
Kids who undergo treatment for cancer often need transfusions of several components of donated blood during the course of treatment. Platelets, red blood cells, it's all in there and it's all lifesaving. Katie used 70 units of blood during her 18-hour surgery. She used up the entire supply of her blood type in the Seattle area that day. If that blood hadn't been available, she would have died during her surgery. Our community held 3 blood drives shortly afterward, and the donors more than replaced the blood she used. Thank you again, Kitsap County and Puget Sound Blood Bank.
A side note: When Katie was in the hospital and learned about the blood drives in her honor, she didn't say much, but the day before the last (and biggest) one, which was held at our church, she said to me, "Get me a pass. I want to go to my blood drive." Now, at this time, she was using a wheelchair to get around, since she was still weak and tired from the surgery. She wasn't eating much of anything, and was sick several times each day. Her hair was just a lovely dark shadow beginning to grow back after the chemo. We had to get a pass (permission from the doctors), take a ferry and drive to our church. She wanted to make the effort, and we did it. This is a photo of Katie and her friends, Tyler and Zachary, at the blood drive. Notice that, though she is fully dressed, she is wrapped in her quilt!
People have told me many times that they felt helpless in the face of our suffering. Well, this is something that anyone can do (you just have to meet age and medical requirements), and it can really help; you might even save someone's life.
God bless the Cousineau family, and all who are grieving the loss of a loved one.