In honor of Blood Donor Awareness Month, we wanted to share a story that is particularly close to the Alex and Ani family. Our latest guest blogger, Lindsey Bailer, works on our Digital Strategy team and shared her story of fighting cancer as a teenager. Bailer bravely discusses her experience, what she’s learned, and the importance of donating blood to help save lives.
One day during swim practice, I noticed a lump near my collarbone. I figured it was a distressed muscle or tendon and continued training and competing for a month. My family and I became concerned when it did not subside, so we decided to have it biopsied and discovered I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The lymph node was quickly removed and my chemotherapy treatment was mapped out within weeks. I was treated at the Tomorrow Fund Clinic at Hasbro Children’s Hospital for four months, during which I continued with school, went out with friends, attended my prom and tried to keep life as normal as possible. My family and close friends were extremely supportive and often dealt with this difficult time through humor, which helped me tremendously.
I had treatment the morning of my High School graduation. It was my fourth round of chemo, so I was feeling physically run down. My nurses suggested I receive a blood transfusion that day to help me feel more energized in order to walk across the stage and graduate with my peers. I received 4 pints of blood that day and felt like a completely different person. I happily and confidently strode the stage and received my diploma.
Lindsey was all smiles on the day of her high school graduation.
I was fortunate enough to only need one blood transfusion, and even then it was optional. However, during my treatment at the Tomorrow Fund Clinic, I saw so many young children undergoing chemotherapy and needing these blood transfusions. They are completely powerless and dependent and are praying for anything that will help them fight and survive. That is why donating blood is so important.
This may come as a surprise to some, but I find myself grateful for my experience facing cancer. It positively changed who I am as a person and how I look at life. It inspired me to work hard, to be driven and to NEVER give up. I try to live each moment to the fullest and appreciate every day on this earth. I have learned not to worry about the little things in life, and when faced with adversity, I try to stay as positive and optimistic as possible. I have a renewed appreciation for the value of taking care of my body and to be as healthy as possible. Your body truly is your temple! The greatest lesson my experience has taught me is the importance of giving what I can, when I can, to those in need. This is why, when I am 28 years old and my blood is officially clean again, I will be donating multiple times to help improve the lives of many. I hope my story will inspire you to do the same.
There will be a blood drive in honor of Lindsey through the Rhode Island Blood Center on March 21, 2014 at 2000 Chapel View Blvd, Suite 360, Cranston, RI 02920 and 200 1st Avenue, Cranston, RI 02910 from 10 am-3 pm.