One day last winter, in my employer’s big boring office building, a cheese spread lured me into an unfamiliar conference room. Inside, someone in a corduroy blazer approached me (my mouth full of smoked gouda) to ask if i was willing to swab my cheek with a q-tip for some stem cell thingamajig. So i said "sure,” swallowed my Gouda, swabbed my cheek, then promptly forgot about the whole thing. A couple months later a strange email popped up. Apparently this cheek swab had “matched” me with some 27 year old stranger, whose life i was now being asked to save via a blood donation thing. Huh? After roughly 10 seconds of half assed deliberation, I decided to do it. Why not? I took a free train to DC, ran my blood through a crazy Jetsons looking machine for a few hours, and then ate some pretty great free pizza. Overall I'd say the experience, at worst, was mildly inconvenient.
I found out later that this 27 year old man was on his deathbed, but the stem cell blood thingamajig worked, so now he’s a cancer free weightlifter (i get anonymous updates). In my mind, he’s a totally awesome dude who wears brightly colored tank tops. I am not a “life saving” type of person. I don't volunteer. I hate giving blood. I am primarily motivated by free cheese or beer. I knew nothing about stem cell donation or blood cancer or that the two had anything to do with one another.
But this opportunity was essentially handed to me on a platter with some smoked gouda, and now it’s one of my proudest accomplishments. If I do nothing else with my life, at least I helped save the life of one awesome dude who is most definitely wearing a brightly colored tank top right now.
So now that I’ve won the listserve lottery I'm handing you the same opportunity on a virtual cheese platter. Here is some virtual cheese: , now I'm putting on my virtual corduroy blazer and asking you to spend 60 seconds filling out a form on the internet:
OPTION 1 (super easy, this is mandatory): Register to be an organ donor:
>>>ORGANIZE [dot] ORG<<<
No swabs or blood or anything like that, and this company lets you do it online in less than 60 seconds (no DMV visit necessary). This is by far the easiest way to accidentally save a life.
OPTION 2 (slightly more work): You can do the same cheek swabby thing i did at home:
>>>DELETEBLOODCANCER [dot] ORG<<<
They will send you a swab kit, and if you're lucky you'll get matched. There's a 99% chance you won't, but at least you'll feel good for trying. Note: i don’t think they send cheese.
OPTION 3 (for the totally hardcore): You can register to be a “living donor,” which means you’d be willing to give a kidney to someone who desperately needs it if you were a match. Admittedly, this is a little too heroic for my taste, but maybe some of you guys are that awesome? It's easy to find a transplant center in your area if you want to be a total badass:
>>> GOOGLE: "SRTR" THEN CLICK "FIND A TRANSPLANT CENTER" <<<