Sunday, December 18, 2011

Writing for Justice

What I did while oatmeal rolls were in the oven

Some people donate a kidney to a stranger; this can extend the life of a struggling kidney patient by 10 years, or so I heard on the radio this week, when a man of 21 was interviewed after doing so. I don't have the guts to give up a kidney — not right now, anyway — so I do what I can in my own small way. I thought I was being pretty brave to sign up to donate bone marrow if I'm ever found to be a match to someone struggling with leukemia. And of course if any of my body parts could be of use when I die, others are welcome to them. But donating a kidney while you're still using it displays compassionate courage that is beyond my grasp at present. Knowing of others who have recently made this sacrifice for someone they've never met drives home to me just how noble I am not. In case I was kidding myself before.

Instead I send Amnesty International a monthly donation to help carry on the fight for human rights around the world, and today I sat down to write letters to world leaders on behalf of prisoners of conscience and their families. I'm adding my little drop to the river of pressure brought to bear on the policy makers of countries that torture, imprison and murder those who don't agree with them.

A read through Amnesty International's quarterly newsletter, making me aware of specific people being held in captivity right now for their peaceful protest against their governments, is a potent reminder of how fortunate I am to live where I do.


  1. I heard that interview on CBC, and felt as you did, that it was admirable but not doable on my part. We too support Amnesty and write letters and sign online petitions. Were we separated at birth?

  2. Long time since I hade enough time to read your blog (shame on me!)
    Just stepped in to wish you all a really good Chirstmas and a happy new year! :)

    (Noticed, by the way, that Scott now also has joined The Great Network (a.k.a Facebook))

  3. Don't feel bad, Elin ... I don't always get over to your blog as often as I'd like, either. This is life.

    I joined Scott to Facebook so that he will stop asking me, "Did Gunnar post anything?" Gunnar is his son who lives in Calgary and this way Scott can see for himself that NO, he rarely posts anything to FB!

    You have a nice holiday season too ... I hope you get some lefse ... I hope I do!

  4. Lorna we do have a lot in common, it's true. Makes sense that we'd be reading each other's blogs for years, then!

  5. I haven't got the nerve to donate my kidneys while I'm still using them either, but I do donate blood pretty regularly and it's a great feeling to know that somebody may be laying in a hospital bed looking up at a bag of blood that may be mine!

    I'm also passionate about organ doning. When my nephew passed away, we were all so angry at how unfair it was, but it was such a comfort to know that he had helped so many very ill people who were suffering the unfairness of being so ill....

    These are the stories around his donation...

    "1 .An adult man on dialysis with terminal kidney disease received one of Jesse's kidneys; 2. A young adult woman on dialysis with insulin-dependent diabetes received Jesse's other kidney and pancreas;
    3. An adult man received Jesse's liver;
    4. An adult man with irreversible heart disease received Jesse's heart;
    5. An adult man with terminal lung disease received both Jesse's lungs."
    All because he signed his organ donor card.

  6. How wonderful is that, Maggie! I bet Jesse would be pleased as punch. And just think of the difference he made in all those lives, and to the loved ones of all those people. I can't figure out why more people don't sign their donor cards, to be honest. It seems such a no-brainer that we're not using our bodies anymore, so why not help someone else?

  7. I know - I like the way the Europeans handle it...You have to sign a card if DON'T want your organs used. Otherwise, it is implied consent. So much more sensible.


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