When Strangers Care Enough to Give

Michelle had been on duty the night we first arrived at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital with our extremely leukemic four-year-old. Her kindness, patience and caring over the first few days of our new life was comforting and reassuring in those stressful days of learning about our new life.

One day, after a few weeks of undergoing chemotherapy, Andrew’s treatment protocol called for platelets—around 11 o’clock they had told us. We waited, and waited, and waited some more.

Michelle informed us that although Andrew had been scheduled to receive them, sometimes scheduling didn’t do any good, as there were no platelets available. Michelle casually mentioned, “Yeah, that happens way too often. That’s why I’m going after work tonight to donate.”

“How do you donate platelets?” I naively asked, “Don’t they just take them out of the blood?”

“No,” Michelle launched into the technical issues regarding the harvesting of platelets, which involves a generous time commitment for donors.

“And you donate?” I asked.

“Yes, every few weeks,” she responded, “platelets are always in demand here on our ward.”

Working long shifts with childhood cancer victims. Leaving work to sit in a chair and donate platelets. Caring beyond the job description.

I think there are no words strong enough to thank the caregivers out there who help make lives better, let alone save them. (tweet this)