There comes a time when you are reminded of the true value of health. Sometimes we can forget that true wellness can be more than just a superficial pursuit for a perfect set of washboard abs. I’ve written about the emotional benefit to others that a truly well individual provides, but there are times when we can more directly improve the health of others on a physical level. For me, this reminder came in the form of a newborn family member with a need for my blood.
Baby Masyn (pronounced: “Mason”)was born with a frail heart. His doctors are working hard to repair valves and do all that they can to give him a fighting chance at a normal life. I got a call this week from his mom asking me for my blood type. She told me that I was a match and that his doctors needed to have more blood on hand in order to proceed with his surgeries and possibly put him on the heart transplant list.
I gladly donated my blood to go directly to baby Masyn, should he need it. I have donated blood in the past but this time, I know the recipient. Knowing that I could provide my young nephew with the best quality blood my body can produce gave me such a feeling of pride and purpose that no amount of health education has ever provided me.
I reflected on the fact that by taking care of myself, I could pass my health on to someone in need. The same restorative enzymes and chemical building blocks my body put in my blood stream in response to my morning walk will have a healing effect for the recipient. Suddenly, I didn’t feel any urge to pass through the drive-thru or indulge in that 3pm candy bar. I didn’t feel like I was missing out by making healthy decisions throughout my day. I got a glimpse of what my wife must have felt as she took care of herself before, during and after being pregnant and growing our daughter.
I know it isn’t the most positive of ways to motivate oneself to treat their body well, but it works for me. It is important to continuously find new meaning to those things that you value. This will ensure that you stick to it and reach your goals. Going forward, I will have in the back of my mind that I could potentially be called to donate blood, tissue or organs to a loved one. I always want to be prepared for that and be secure in knowing that I would be able to provide them with the most healthy part of me I can possibly be.
Thank you for reading this reflection. I didn’t write this to brag or gloat about my health. I am perfectly aware that there are some for whom such health is not possible. The gift of health I am able to share with Masyn is not entirely mine to give. I have been fortunate enough to have been given a clear bill of health from the start but I know that I am living to my potential and am being a good steward of the healthy body people like baby Masyn were not so fortunate to receive.