The health care situation in both Michigan and the U.S. has a long way to go, but far be it from us to not do our part. Being a person with more than her fair share of health problems, I've seen the ugly side of being sick, the battles that occur on the emotional, social, physical and of course, financial fronts.
I was particularly touched with the cover story of the LSJ's Sunday paper. Caroline Thomas is a darling 5 year-old girl from Lansing who has faced a seemingly up-hill fight from her very first day. Her latest struggle comes in the form of brain cancer, and a tumor the size of a golf ball.
Little Caroline has had several surgeries at Lansing's own Sparrow Hospital, the most recent just this past Friday. Undergoing chemotherapy and having her put life on hold while she recovers will not be easy, but Caroline's parents, family and friends all remain optimistic. Caroline still faces 45 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation treatments.
*It's not quite clear whether or not a fund has been set up to assist Caroline and her family with medical expenses, but I'm waiting a return call from the article's author and will keep you posted.
You can help keep up Caroline's spirits and send her a card -
1417 Jerome St.
Lansing, MI 48912
Friends have also arranged for the local Red Cross to put on Blood Drives in Caroline's honor.
Every third Sunday of each month for an entire year, you and I can head down to the Lansing Donor Center (1729 E. Saginaw, Lansing) and donate blood or platelets for those who desperately need it, like Caroline.
While you're there, you can sign a card for Caroline. Even if your blood isn't a perfect match for Caroline, the chances are quite good that your gift of life will go to someone in our community who desperately needs it, particularly with the holiday season upon us.
Red Cross spokeswoman Ann Kammerer said Caroline may be receiving specialty blood products, such as platelets.There's also contact information for the area Red Cross on the right side of this blog. If your health, fear of needles, or whatever prevents you from giving blood, plasma, or platelets, you can always give money.
"We have seen blood donations go up and down to the point where we've had some pretty severe shortages during the summer and also during the winter months," Kammerer said.
"With the holidays coming up, we need to keep that momentum going to ensure that the blood is on hand to help people."
Dine said there are cards at the Red Cross to send well-wishes to Caroline. "She likes to read mail and get little things," she said.
For the Saturday blood drives in Caroline's honor, Dine makes a giant card for people to sign and draw little pictures.
"Not everybody is going to be compatible (with Caroline), but everybody feels like they are contributing," she said. "They are going to be compatible with someone.
"If (the blood) doesn't necessarily get used by Caroline, it will get used by somebody, and most likely right here in the community."
As they say "Tis the season to give". Why not take 5 minutes out of your day, give the gift of life, bring a little love to someone's life and feel better knowing you helped take care of one of Mid-Michigan's own?