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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

giving love: 2012

Valentine's day.
Last week, Tim and I weren't too sure what to do with ourselves and the social pressures and expectations put upon lovers on February 14th.
It's our first married Valentine's Day, which is interesting, because now that we've established our home we get to make our own rules about how we do holidays and traditions and such, especially the menial industry driven holidays like Valentine's.
At some point we made loose plans to just spend the day doing things we think are fun. But even then I wasn't sure Valentine's Day would stand out among others, or even if I really wanted it to.

It turned out to be a truly wonderful and memorable day.
We slept in late and didn't feel bad about it, followed by our usual late breakfast plus just a little lovey inspiration with the raspberry jam so I could add a picture to the social media heart themed feed.
Then we settled in the office and started getting work done.  I checked my email, and saw something that made my heart stop.

This was all too reminiscent of Valentine's Day 2011. I had just gotten home from a special date with Tim and saw another email that halted my breath and made me ache inside. A dear woman that I used to work with sent out a request for prayer, because her daughter had just been diagnosed with Leukemia. As I read her story, I was hit really hard with the reality of what she was facing. Jennifer was in much the same life stage that I was: young, in love, soon to be married, when all of her wonderful plans were interrupted by cancer. I couldn't imagine their family's pain and paid close attention to their battle over the next months.

Last September, Jen needed a bone marrow transplant. Out of solidarity, and because it was the only thing I could do for her besides pray, I signed up to be on the National Bone Marrow Registry. Thankfully, Jen's doctors found a donor for her last Christmas and she's in remission, but still fighting cancer as hard as she can and battling fears that it will come back.

When I initially signed up, a little bit of research kept me from getting my hopes up about being able to donate my own marrow; there is a 1 in 500 chance that a donor in the registry will be matched with a patient. But now that I've been identified as a potential match, the odds are up to 1 in 12 that I'll be asked to donate.

This makes me so giddy!!

This season I'm in right now is one of plenty, and I don't know why I get to have all that I do. Every day I'm asking myself and God what to do with it all.  How can I give back and share what I've been given?
My good health is literally priceless,  and I think about this a lot. We all live in a time of unprecedented advances in medical technology that actually allows us to take what we have in terms of health--our blood, our marrow--and give it away to people who are sick. Are you grasping this?

A simple procedure could mean the difference between life or death for someone else who needs what you and I can freely give. Even if it doesn't work out for me to donate marrow (and the odds are that it won't), I have at least given someone an option in a very option-less situation, just by returning a cheek swab in the mail and being willing to take a needle for them.

Today gave me some really great inspiration for how to spend Valentine's day in the coming years. Giving whatever I can out of love, in whatever capacity that looks like over the years, has made my joy full.

Here are today's events from Jen's perspective. An excerpt from her reflections on the 1st anniversary of her diagnosis:

I would really encourage anyone who reads this to sign up like I did. It's so easy.


  1. just signed up. booyah! thanks girl for this info!

  2. thanks so much for sharing this story!
    I just signed up as well.
    Been wanting to do it for a while but just kept forgetting...your story pushed me to get it done.
    love you friend!

  3. Bethany, I love this!! And you!! You are a dear, genuine heart and you have been a blessing to us. Keep spreading the word. You are the first found as a potential match for someone in need. Let's get so many on the list that those affected by Jen's story get to save life after life after life!!