A Christmas Card

I know this is going to be contentious but here it goes.  In Ireland over the last 10 years there has been a growing push by charities asking people to donate to a charity and not post or send Christmas Cards.  Why are they doing this?

There are many people and not just older people who look forward to getting Christmas cards in the post.   The card pops through the letter box usually with a Christmas postage stamp, the envelope hand written and inside there is a personal greeting.

Please pause a moment and thing back to the last time you received a personal greeting through the post? Let’s face it the occasion very rarely happens.  With the advent of paperless billing the volume of post has dropped.  Isn’t it good to receive that personal greeting?

Isn’t it wonderful to think that a friend, a colleague, a neighbour, a family member has taken the time to choose a card, write a greeting, address the envelope and then post it.  Isn’t it good to feel that even for a short time you were important to that person?

I attended a workshop during the year and a young lad asked me if I sent cards at Christmas. “Of course,” I replied “but why are you asking”? I learnt that this young lad has a chronic illness and at times it results in anxiety and depression.  When his energy is low and he feels his anxiety rising he will take out one of the Christmas cards he received and remind himself that he is important.

This conversation has remained with me.  We just never know how the simple gesture of sending a Christmas card can impact on someone.  I am sure there are many other examples of the smiles that a Christmas card can evoke.

Then there are the people who make their own Christmas cards who not only get a great buzz of making those cards but who also make others feel very important.  The hours which are spent choosing designs, paper and finally putting it all together before actually sitting down to write the personal greeting.

Many people send cards which they have purchased from specific charities knowing that the money is going back to that charity. These charities range from Children’s hospital to animal welfare. The money from those cards are important to those charities.

Can I ask a question of those charities who are asking people to donate rather than sending out Christmas cards? Why do you not ask people to consider donating the cost of an extra Christmas present? Why are charities not at Easter time asking people to stop buying Easter Eggs and instead donating the money to charity? There has grown the tradition of the 12 Pubs at Christmas in Ireland.  Why have the charities not targeted that?

These charities that ask us to donate instead of sending cards should really consider the impact this has on those who receive these Christmas cards.

 

Christmas puds

20 Minutes

Perhaps 20 minutes isn’t too long in the grand scheme of things.  Perhaps there isn’t much to be achieved in 20 minutes? Well let me tell you there is a hell of a lot which can be achieved in those precious 20 minutes.  A while ago I took part in a survey asking about using 20 minutes to volunteer.  It got me thinking.

What could be made in 20 minutes? What could it be used for? Could it really be termed volunteering? Twenty minutes with my slow crochet work will make a tiny premature baby hat.  Now there are others who crochet and who would make a premature baby jacket in 20 minutes. ( I am slow)  IMAG0791

 

 

Now before you switch off from this post just because you may not be a crafter can I make a suggestion here of how you might be able to volunteer 20 minutes.  Would you have 20 minutes to purchase yarn, fabric and donate it?  If you don’t know anyone directly who knits just contact your local ICA  or similar group they will definitely know.

IMAG0787

Crafting is expensive so two fat quarters of fabric would make a premmie blanket.  2 yards of fabric can be used to make a fidget quilt for a person with dementia.   Then there are the bravery blankies for children and teenagers in hospital with cancer.  2 balls of yarn would go along way to making so many things.

Please don’t think about it just head off and purchase that ball of yarn, or that piece of fabric and pass it on and put a smile on someone’s face.

A Special Experience

Have you ever been lucky enough to be part of a special experience?

Last night I attended a dinner in the Crown Plaza hotel, Santry, Dublin.  There was a buzz around the table with conversations to my right and left.  The volume rose as the tables filled up.  So, you are asking what’s so different?

Firstly, apart from my husband I knew no one at that table, however people introduced themselves and made everyone feel welcome.  Conversations with strangers flowed.

This was an extremely special night where blood and platelets donors who had donated over 50 units were honoured.  I was accompanying my husband who was one of those being honoured.

Just 1 teaspoon of blood for a premature baby! Yes, ONE TEASPOON.  It was amazing to think that a teaspoon could equal a miracle.  The shelf life of blood is 7 days or 5 days for neonatal.  Just look at some of your groceries and look at their shelf life very little has to be used within such a short time period.

To the world you are just one person but to one person you are the world” We have all heard that expression but blood donors and platelet donors epitomise this saying.  Very often a platelet donor would be matched with a specific recipient.

For many kids and perhaps adults the men and women of the fire service are special.  How many kids dress up as “Firemen”? Last night I listened to an awe-inspiring talk given by a member of Dublin Fire Service.  The talk opened with background information of how this officer started donating blood throughout his time with the service.  How he started donating blood platelets in James Street never realising that in a short time he would need the service.

This man’s young son was diagnosed with leukaemia and spent 3 years on Chemo but the first donation of blood platelets actually brought back the colour to his son’s face.  This man spoke eloquently, gently, with dignity as he allowed us a little insight into the journey of his son’s illness and the journey of the family.  We were a privileged audience and I thank this man his wife and his son for sharing such a personal and traumatic story but one with a happy ending. His son is now a TEENAGER with all that entails.

One of the facts which I have found very difficult to understand is that Ireland has a population of 4,757,976(according to the census of 2016) and only 3% that is only 142,739 volunteer donors are keeping this country alive with blood.  This makes me very frustrated as I myself am unable to continue donating.

A I was leaving the hotel last night amid a great buzz I was determined to write something about how proud I am of these blood and platelet donors and especially proud of my wonderful husband that I would in some small way try and promote the need for volunteers.  So, if you have thought of donating but have put it off please think again.

It is not scary.  If like me needles aren’t your thing just look away then you won’t know anything about it.  Before you realise it, your donation has been taken.  Again, if you are like me a scaredy cat and just want to bury your nose in a book the staff will not take offence.  However, if you are a chatterbox the staff are great conversationalists.

So here is the information for Ireland: Facebook Irish Blood Transfusion Service: online www.giveblood.ie: phone 1850731137.  Don’t put off donating for another day.  If you are reading this in another country just use a search engine and you will get the information.

Thank You in anticipation