The best (Christmas) gift: 450 ml of blood or a working kidney

Image credit: Pixabay

During the festive season, people tend to be more in a charitable mood. After all, the Christmas programmes of television channels are largely built around charity fundraisers that appeal to viewers’ emotions and empathy towards those who have been dealt a heavy blow in life. For some reason, it is often only before Christmas that we remember to help people next to us. In fact, there are very simple ways in which more or less all of us can be more giving towards people in need at all times of the year, without even opening our wallets.

As I reached adulthood, I knew right away that I wanted to become a blood donor. I’m not exactly sure where or why this decision came from, but over the last ten years I have donated blood every now and then. It’s an amazingly simple act that can save someone’s life. The entire procedure takes a twenty or so minutes and another good deed is done.

If you have never donated blood before, I encourage you to give it a try. The procedure is very simple and not in the least unpleasant. In addition, knowing that it may have been your blood that helped save someone’s life makes you feel really good. So why not do a small act of kindness this Christmas and the turn of the year. After all, the festive season is also a time when people travel around more, and more accidents happen, so a small good deed can really make a difference for someone.

However, if you wish to take a step further from blood donation, it’s worth considering signing up as an organ donor. I did it years ago and it wasn’t a difficult decision for me. I do hope to live a long and fulfilling life, but should anything happen, it is somewhat comforting to think that my death could save someone else’s life. Sometimes even more than one life. And you never know – maybe one day I myself, or someone close to me, will need someone’s organ to survive. At these moments you do wish that there are nice people who have thought about it in their lifetime and have been prepared to donate their organs at the end of their life.

Blood donation Image credit: Pixabay

It can be a morbid subject to think about, especially when you are young and healthy, because death always seems so far ahead in the future, but in reality we can never be sure that nothing will happen when walking home from work or school some evening. Signing up to become an organ donor takes just a few moments, and if something should indeed happen, it could save lives.

Why have I chosen to sign up as an organ donor? Because when I die, I will have no use for my lungs, heart or liver anyway. If my organs are a good match for someone else, let that person make the most of these.

We can argue endlessly about what will happen after our life on earth is over, but one thing is certain – we don’t need our organs. So they could be put to good use to save someone else’s life. I also like to think that this way a piece of me would live on inside someone else. And every day this saved person will surely enjoy knowing that a person they never had the chance to meet had been willing to give up a piece of themselves so they could live.

To learn more about organ donation see (in Estonian and Russian), and about donating blood see (in English).

Sandra Saar, MA student of Journalism and Communication

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