October 8th, 2008

Brian and Anne

Call for Sacrifice simple: give blood, bone marrow, donate organs and tissues

Last night I went to the local red cross office and gave blood with a friend of mine, and then we picked up takeout for dinner and sat and watched the presidential debate. This morning I wrote the following to the Obama campaign:

Dear Senator Obama,

When you were asked at the town hall debate last night what sacrifice you would ask of the American People, there was an answer you could have given that would benefit millions of people, and cost those who are giving very little. You could have asked people to give blood, to sign up with the bone marrow donation service, and sign up to donate tissue and organs in the case of their death.

It's not too late. I encourage you to spend some small fraction of your funds and time on a targeted ad or at the very least press release or stump speech. If you join up with the American red cross, the gift of life foundation, and the national transplant society, it might not even cost you anything to be part of a national ad campaign. Bone marrow donation by minorities is particularly needed; you would be the perfect candidate to speak to this issue. The question of sacrifice and giving has been raised, take advantage of the opportunity to give an answer that will benefit millions of Americans.

Here is what you could say:

At the town hall this week I was asked what the American people should sacrifice to help our country through the coming crisis and tough times. I didn't mention it then, but there is something many of you can do right now, and if everyone who is able to do this pulls together, it will rescue millions of Americans who need what only you can give.

Give blood.

Give the gift of life. It will not hurt your own health and it will only take a little of your time.

We are facing a national economic crisis in our banks, but we are also facing a national shortage in our blood banks. The blood shortage is a crisis nearly everyone can do something about. After 9/11 people answered the call by flocking to hospitals and Red Cross offices to donate. I am asking all of those people to donate again, and to keep donating regularly, 4 times a year, every year; to adopt a pattern of ongoing service.

In addition to giving blood, I'm asking all Americans to go to www.marrow.org to see if you're eligible to safely donate bone marrow, to save people faced by debilitating diseases like luekemia. And to visit www.organdonor.gov to find out about donating organs and tissues in the case of your death. For a successful transplant, the tissue type of a donor or needs to match the patient's as closely as possible. Tissue types are inherited, so patients are more likely to match someone with the same racial heritage. Minorities are particularly needed as donors so that the transplant pool is as diverse as possible.

If you can give of yourself in this most direct way, please, do it now. Your country needs you.



Write to the candidates: What would you ask Americans to sacrifice?

I appreciate the positive feedback I've gotten on my post about my letter to Senator Obama about donating blood, etc, and I'll appreciate it even more if you'd chime in and send the same message to him through the campaign's debate feedback form. That will make it more likely someone will take notice. (Feel free to spread the word, and/or link to my post).

While you're thinking about it, what would *you* ask America to do, to sacrifice, if you had the the kind of national attention these candidates can get, both as candidates and potentially as President? Write to them about that too.

In addition to the question of giving blood, one big thing I saw missing from both of their discussions of an energy plan was manpower. George Bush has made some somewhat lame mentions of the fact that some Americans are dealing with the gas price problems by driving less and riding bikes and such. Sure we are! And we should do more! Don't we have a national struggle with obesity and diabetes? We can address that and gas shortages and prices at the same time, by using old-fashioned manpower to get around. By hooking up generators to the stationary bikes and other exercise equipment we use at the home and the gym, so they generate electricity instead of using it up. By building bike-powered drive-in theaters and other such alternative energy solutions. Part of dealing with the energy crisis should include encouraging bike-friendly urban design and rules of the road. Hybrid and electric public transit as well as personal cars.

There are a lot of things they aren't talking about. So go call them on it!

(you can contact the McCain campaign here).