Friday, February 8, 2008

Give a Little Bit

On February 15 of 2007, friends of ours named T. and S. brought their beautiful new baby girl into the world. They named her Claire and she joined their happy, energetic family of five, that included two big sisters and a big brother. Just two months younger than my Beckett, Claire was a sweet, angelic, beautiful and quiet baby girl. I only heard her cry one time and then all it took was me cooing and talking to her to settle her down until her mommy could pick her up.

On April 19, 2007, T. and S. awoke to find that their baby girl had died in her sleep of SIDS. And so began the most gut-wrenching journey of their lives.

T. told me once that the only thing that gave her any real sense of peace or comfort throughout the last year was when she had the opportunity to attend a memorial service for the families of organ donors that was attended by the recipients of donor organs and their families. I have a vague recollection that she might have met a family that received one of Claire's organs. The knowledge that somehow someone was helped from all of it dulled the pain for a moment at least.

This year our circle of friends has been very intent on helping T. and S. get through the day that would have seen their lovely girl turning one. None of us can imagine their pain, but we would do anything in our power to lessen it. For weeks, we wondered and worried over what an appropriate and joyful celebration of her brief life might be. Then T. came up with an idea of her own. She said that if she were not pregnant (she's due on Mar. 21), she would like to donate blood in Claire's honor that day.

We couldn't think of a more touching memorial, so another friend – Carrie – and I have organized a blood drive in Claire's honor on February 15.

Blood supplies fall to critical levels at this time of year and here in Atlanta supplies are extremely low right now.

If you live in the Atlanta area, I encourage you to take some time out of your day on Feb. 15 and come to the Red Cross Donation Center on Monroe Drive.

There are two ways you can go about this if you want to participate. You can give your information to me via the comment form below and we will schedule the appointment and get back to you. Or you can contact Beverly Vicks @ the Red Cross 1-800-448-3543 option 1. If you have given, we or Beverly will need your first and last name. If you have never donated, we need your first, last, DOB and phone # to get you processed before the 15th. The donation will be given at the Monroe facility right off of the I-85 exit. If and when you call Beverly, tell her specifically that you're calling for the Claire Austin donation on the 15th of Feb. Please let us know if you will need someone to sit with your children there while you donate. Schools are out on this day, but we still want you to come.

We are hoping this will become an annual event. And even if you live in another city and want to donate on that day or around this time, let me know.

If you plan to donate, also please leave a comment even if you don't need me to schedule you. We'd like to let the family know how their experience has impacted others and the positive light that radiates from their darling girl's brief life.



Wendy said...

February 15 is my birthday. I obviously cannot donate blood in Atlanta, but I will do so in Hawaii in Claire's honor.

Dawn said...

Thank you, Wendy! I hope you have a very happy birthday!