In the blink of an eye......It’s an expression that denotes how quickly life can zoom by, change and shape us forever. My sister's life (and mine, her family's and her friends' lives ) all changed in a blink of an eye on a September day in 2014. I was in Florida on business and my younger sister called me to say she had Leukemia. I jumped on a plane and got home immediately Vicki Osborne was diagnosed with Acute Myleod Leukemia. She underwent Chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant (which lasted only 4.5 months) participated in a novel clinical trial (did not work for her) and then, lived life well with AML. Vicki passed away on May 1st 2017 and this is where I want to expand on her amazing life with AML. She was a most positive person. She often commented that she had so much to LIVE for and she really LIVED with cancer for 31 months. During this time, the memories we created were bitter sweet filled with joy, love and adventure and tears. We went to Ripley’s aquarium, did the CN tower Edge walk and I Fly indoor skydiving, had high tea parties, drove exotic cars, did book club dinners, and celebration of life dinners and so very much more. Always Vicki had an incredible smile and made us all feel so special to be with her.
There are so many heroes of this story. Yes Vicki's attitude, fortitude and grace. Her caring and devoted family, and loyal supportive friends. AND there were 1238 hero who donated blood. YES 1238 hero kept Vicki alive for 31 months. Most patients with leukemia need on average 8 donors a week. Vicki however required more. She constantly required platelets, and hemoglobin. She had transfusions 3 times a week for her entire journey.
There are also countless heroes at the CBS donor clinics- the nurses, the volunteers and those in the back we dont even know about! Thank-you all!
I made a point of donating blood at every 56 days (now 84 days for females) for 2 years. I rallied my family and friends who also donated and many took a cheek swab (potential stem cell donors).
Early this year, I decide to become an "in community volunteer' in my own community. You may have crossed paths with me at various events were we are in the community, encouraging passers by to sign up at a local blood clinic in their neighborhood! It is a wonderful feeling when total strangers say 'I have never given blood before but I would like to- thanks for asking me to sign up! I will be there! For those that signed up, I could sincerely tell them that they are truly giving LIFE to a stranger - more life than they would ever know!
And finally, my way to honour my sister and to help others in need was to set up a partners for life challenge in honour of Vicki Osborne . Our Partner ID is INME289332 If you are able, please register online as Partners for Life members at: www.blood.ca/partnersforlife- Join our team challenge to raise 150 donors this year in memory of my amazing sister Vicki Osborne. I love you to the moon and back!
Now I ask all you who are reading this- do you want to give LIFE to others? You have the power with in you! Go ahead and feel great!