Donated Blood Saved my Life

After the Las Vegas shooting, multiple news sources talked about the outpouring of support when hundreds of people lined up for blocks to donate blood for the victims.  For me, this story hit close to home because donated blood saved my life after my daughter’s birth. Months after my own experience with a blood transfusion, my family took it upon themselves to start donating blood in honor of me. Every time they give blood, they text or send me a picture. I haven’t been able to donate blood for years due to travel restrictions, pregnancy and now a blood transfusion, but I feel excited thinking about the opportunity to give back in that way.

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This week I thought about the overwhelming impact ordinary individuals like you and I have when we try to make a difference in the world. With thousands of people suffering from the aftermath of multiple hurricanes and other natural disasters combined with the human-caused tragedies like the Vegas shooting, which killed 59 people, how does one not throw in the towel and say, “What’s the point?” My perspective comes from my experiences in Kenya. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the depths of each issue, almost to the point of feeling paralyzed. What can I do to make a difference? Will what I actually do have impact? If my actions don’t solve the whole issue, then what influence does my small action actually make? Many people probably feel a sense of helplessness over the tragedies of these past weeks. From personal experience, it is paramount to acknowledge what can be done and not to become overwhelmed with how small the impact might be. These individual small acts of kindness and donations add up and exponentially increase when people come together for a cause.

The Be Better Movement website states, “ We often feel we have to donate large sums of money to make a difference; in reality, it is the small things we do that add up over time. We at Be Better believe when we come together with one mission, we can make a profound change in the lives of women across the world.

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This week’s #bebetter52 challenge--display a change jar-- reinforces this same concept. Saving money can sometimes feel like a monumental feat. It is like hiking. When you focus on the total mileage, you may feel overwhelmed and give up. However, if you take the challenge one step at a time, it’s doable. I’ve always loved hiking for this reason. You just continue one step, then another. By the time you turn around and look at the ground covered, often times you are surprised at how high you have climbed or how far you have walked.

I have to be honest. When trying to balance motherhood with growing Be Better, I have often wanted to say, “What’s the point?” Is it really making a big enough difference? I then remind myself not to become paralyzed by the big picture and to keep going on, one step at a time. Every week it’s my privilege to read the responses to the completed #bebetter52 challenges from all over the country. These responses motivate me to continue growing Be Better. Although the number isn’t grand at this point, the numbers add up week after week. Not only are these individuals making a difference in their own lives, but they are also raising money for Every Mother Counts, one challenge at a time. Just as the change jar doesn’t become full all at once, it is the little things that add up. My senior quote in high school--“Little Moments Make Life Big”--is a motto I will continue to live by.