Friday, September 12, 2014

High White Count, the chronicle of one family's longest day.

September is an awareness month for so many things...  some of them I've recently shared, Thyroid Cancer Awareness, Suicide Prevention, and Spinal Cord Injury, the latter something I talk about constantly not only because it's a subject I write about, but because it's been a huge part of my life long career. 

Today, though, I want to help raise awareness for another cause, one that is progressing by leaps and bounds in the area of research because of the generous contributions that have been made. Just a few years ago, a diagnosis of leukemia was a death sentence, but thanks to research, many blood cancer stories are ones of success- stories of triumph, of survival.

Yesterday, in recognition of Blood Cancer Awareness Month, my friend, Born shared a story about Blood Cancer and how it's personally touched her family.

High White Count, a collaborative effort, written by Born and her son chronicles the longest day of their lives. (She refers to it as the longest day of his life, but if you're a mom, you know the drill- stuff like this is never a solo act.) 

I've spent so many of my own hours in the hospital ER with my mother, waiting for a room and  for labs to come back; trying, but failing, to shut out the overwhelming sensory stimulation of sick and injured people, acrid odors (ER coffee included), being disappointed by the lack of proper food, (I'm diabetic- you'd think a hospital would have a vending machine with healthy snacks- a pack of peanuts or sunflower seeds would suffice, crackers would be nice- encountering beef jerky once was like discovering a hidden treasure.) Being shuffled around by the hustle and bustle of workers coming in and out but never having answers... Born's story played out like a film reel being projected in my mind, and down in the corner I imagined a digital clock like the one in the television show, Twenty Four as each second passed by. 

Born is an author, a silly, wonderful storyteller who always makes her readers smile, so this piece was different, this mother wearing her heart on her sleeve. I've interacted with Born, superficially over the course of a few years. I don't know her nearly as well as her other 1500+ Facebook followers probably do, but I sensed something was different this summer, in the tone of her posts, the reactions from her friends and now I understand why.

Born's story resonated with me on a personal level, as well; because of a blood disorder, I've spent a huge amount of my summer in the hematology/oncology department of my own hospital, being poked and prodded; offering up enough vials of blood for testing that they load them into a bowl before we start. 

No, I don't have a blood cancer, but two of my grandparents did, as did my grandmother's sister. For all three of them, the diagnosis was a very short death sentence, leaving my mother orphaned before she was three, and leaving my dad to support his mother and siblings at the age of sixteen, so I can appreciate how important it is for research to move forward.

Yes, this piece was written to support the cause of raising not only awareness, but funds for research into the many forms of blood cancer, as well. Born and her family are not only sharing their story, they're taking it one step further; for each donation that is made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Born's family will make a matching contribution. more information can be found at the end of High White Count.

If you're unable to donate financially, there are so many non-monetary ways you can help make a difference as well; volunteer for a bake sale or a car wash in your own community, share this story, share your own if you have one. Every effort counts, no matter how great or how small. Thank you.

I'll leave you now with Born and her son, as they share their story. 

Their longest day.
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