Letter From Sindi

Dear Friends,

By the time you read this letter I will be back in the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Vancouver General Hospital. I've had a couple of weeks to get back into fresh air and prepare for the next leg of my journey.

Over the past week, I've had a battery of tests - heart scan, lung function test, bloodwork, bone marrow biopsy and lumbar puncture - to assess my status before my bone marrow transplant on March 24th. The good news is that the heart scan confirmed the presence of a heart in this politician (the technician said so!).

I received some chemotherapy last week as well and will be getting more all this week. As you may know, my younger sister will be my donor. I am very thankful for that. I am reminded, however, that not everyone who needs a bone marrow transplant is as lucky as I am to have a brother or sister that can donate. I am appealing for people to consider becoming an unrelated bone marrow donor by registering at 1-888-2-DONATE. It is especially important for people from ethnic minority groups to consider registering because the number of registered donors is very low and the need is great. You can save a life.

In that vein, I am also appealing for more blood donations. I am so proud of everyone in our community who have rolled up their sleeves and unselfishly given blood in the last few weeks. As someone who was a blood donor for several years, I didn't truly understand the significance of donating blood until I needed it to help save my life.

Every time a nurse comes in to hang a bag of blood on me, I look up at it dripping into me and think about how thankful I am that some total stranger took time out of their busy day to roll up their sleeve to help save my life.

It means so much to know that these kinds of resources are there when we need them. Unfortunately in BC, we lag behind other provinces when it comes to donating blood. People in our province donate at half the rate of people in other provinces. Every year we ask other western provinces to send 15 to 18 thousand units of blood, yet we have two to four times the population of those provinces!

My nurses told me I was lucky to get sick in the winter because I could get five units of platelets - in the summer, patient like me only get four units because of the shortage. I would like to see patients treated equally all year round.

I'm appealing to everyone to consider being a year 'round blood donor. I know how 'inconvenient' it can be - I used to do it. It's so important that we keep our blood bank stocked up all year around - including holidays in the winter such as Christmas and reading breaks and summer holidays! Please call 1-888-2-DONATE. I know our community can be a leader in showing the rest of the country what we can do when we put our hearts and minds into a project!

In closing, I want to again thank everyone for the kind thoughts and prayers. I feel extremely fortunate to have the incredible support and prayers of my family, my friends and my community. My girlfriends have been coming in from Kelowna to look after me in Vancouver to give my family a break.

I had a wonderful day at the Legislature last week. I met with colleagues and others who made me feel normal for a day! I can't wait to get better so I can come home.

So I'll say goodbye for now, my friends. Please keep me in your prayers.

Sindi Hawkins
Kelowna Mission

More Letters to the editor

Recent Trending



The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the author. Castanet does not in any way warrant the information presented.

Visit our discussion forum
for these and other issues.

Previous Stories