So, here I am again, presenting my “Bloody Awesome Challenge”… but this time, I’m not going to give up until I make you notice it and make the world realize how important it is to get MORE people on the Stem Cell Registry and donate blood!  This is a little bit of a long blog post, but there is a giveaway at the end of it!!!

Last week I donated blood for the very first time. I honestly believed that I would not be able to donate because of the fact that I take high blood pressure and Parkinson’s meds. Well myth busted my friends! I was able to do it.

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I’m not going to lie, I was TOTALLY scared to do it. I HATE needles with a passion and my veins are teeny tiny little things that aren’t the easiest to find. When she couldn’t find a vein in my right arm, I got really anxious. Then she found one in the left. It did hurt a little bit and the whole experience was a little bit uncomfortable from start to finish. I even looked like I was going to be a fainter, so they lifted up my legs. But I made it and I didn’t faint. I just kept reminding myself what my Loverman needs to go though and what he will have to go through with this bone marrow transplant.

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I also went there to support another a incredible young lady, Mackenzie Curran who was doing this blood/stem cell drive as part of her 1 year REbirthday after transplant! So donating blood every two months will become a regular thing for me. I feel compelled to do this now because I know that I can. I don’t think I’m ever going to enjoy giving blood, but that’s okay. I can make the sacrifice and do something I don’t like if it means that I can help save lives.

As for getting on the Stem Cell Registry, well that’s a whole different story. I wish that I could do it, but my 40 year old stem cells aren’t awesome enough. And that is okay. Age requirements vary from country to country, but research indicates that unless you are a sibling (younger/older siblings can be donors if they are healthy and a match), donors between the ages of 17-35 are associated with better long-term survival rates for patients and while females CAN be donors, males are considered an optimal stem cell donors. At any given moment there are thousands of people around the world waiting for a stem cell match. My loverman, Kevin is one of them. If you are reading this and you can, organize an information session/swabbing event in your area. The more young healthy males we can get on the list, the better! Here is my son getting swabbed!

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There are so many myths and misconceptions about stem cell donation and some of these things I honestly believed myself… you know, before all of this nonsense about my loverman needing a Stem Cell Transpant. NO they don’t remove part of your spine. NO they don’t remove parts of your bone. NO it is not a painful procedure.

8 times out of 10, stem cell donations come from peripheral blood. This method is similar to donating blood and it is done in an outpatient clinic. Blood is extracted through a needle and is passed through a machine that collects the stem cells. Then, the remaining blood is returned to the donor’s body through the other arm. The donor does not experience pain during this procedure. Peripheral blood stem cell donors have reported varying symptoms/side effects including headache, bone or muscle pain, nausea, insomnia and fatigue but these effects disappear shortly after donating and many donors are back to work the next day.

2 times out of 10, stem cell donations come from the bone marrow of the pelvic bone. This procedure is done under general anesthesia. The donor does not experience pain during the procedure. Bone marrow donors can expect to feel some of the same side effects as the peripheral donors as well as some soreness in their lower back that can be compared to the same feeling one gets if he/she were to slip and fall on ice. There have also been reports of donors feeling tired and having some discomfort walking for a couple of days or longer. However, most donors are back to their usual routine in a few days.

This is as much information that I will give you today with respect to donation, but I do want to share one story with you. There is a 7 year old girl in my city, Kingston, Ontario, who donated bone marrow to her little 5 year old sister. She had to undergo the surgery to remove the bone marrow from her pelvic bones. She was poked 50… yes, FIFTY TIMES in her hips in order to get enough bone marrow. The next day she ran the bases at a baseball game when her class went on a field trip!

Regardless of how much discomfort a donor must endure, the risks are low and minimal. Don’t you think that saving a life is the most rewarding thing you can do in this life? Think of it this way, you might be someone’s only chance to live. So if I have convinced you to get on that list, please visit your stem cell donation website (depending on where you live – if you need to find one in another Country, I am happy to help you) take the quick knowledge test and request your swabbing kit!

CANADAhttp://www.onematch.com

USA – http://bethematch.org/

UKhttp://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow/

AUSTRALIA –  http://www.abmdr.org.au/

Now, are you ready to do my Bloody Awesome Challenge and get in on this awesome giveaway? All you have to do is one of these 4 challenges:

1) Get swabbed and get your name on the Bone Marrow / Stem Cell registry! 

** If you are already on the list, THANK YOU!!! Now take this opportunity to tell the world how BLOODY AWESOME you are with your #bloodyawesomechallenge post on facebook and/or twitter and encourage others to do the same. =) We realize that not everyone can get on the list because not everyone is a good candidate, but maybe you can do one or all of the next three challenges…

2) Donate blood! 

** If you are already a regular blood donor, THANK YOU!! Now take this opprotunity to tell the world how BLOODY AWESOME you are with your #bloodyawesomechallenge post on facebook and/or twitter and encourage others to do the same. =) We realize that not everyone can donate blood for health reasons, but maybe you can do one or all of the next two challenges…

3) Make a monetary donation to any organization or crowd funding platform that benefits blood cancer patients. 

** If you are already a regular blood cancer organization donor, THANK YOU!! Now take this opportunity to tell the world how BLOODY AWESOME you are with your #bloodyawesomechallenge post on facebook and/or twitter and encourage others to do the same. =) We realize that not everyone can afford to make a donation and that is okay, but maybe you can do the next challenge…

4) SHARE this challenge on facebook and/or twitter and encourage others to join our Bloody Awesome Challenge!! You can do so simply by using the share buttons below!!

Once you have completed one or all of the above challenges, you can enter to win some Bloody Awesome GEAR! You can enter as many times as you like. Just make sure you provide a link to your post and use that hashtag to make sure you are eligible!  This is an International contest that is void where prohibited by law…Providing CafePress ships to your Country. If you are not sure, please contact me and I will find out!

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Thanks so much for stopping by and participating! Can’t wait to see all the #BloodyAwesomeChallenge awesomeness out there!!!
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