How to save a life

Imagine being able to say that you saved someone’s life. That you were someone’s hero. Well, I have heroes out there; people who saved my life. I don’t know their names and will never be able to thank them, but I would not be here today if it wasn’t for them. Those everyday heroes performed a simple act of kindness: they donated blood.

Three years ago, after a straightforward caesarean delivery, I had to have an emergency hysterectomy and started bleeding heavily. Together, the doctors, gynaes, surgical nurses and anesthesiologists saved my life, but that would have been impossible if it wasn’t for the seven pints of blood that had been donated. (The average woman only has nine pints of blood in her body!) Fortunately I only had to spend one night in ICU and was allowed to go home with my newborn baby a few days later.

I have tried to donate blood in the past, but am not good with needles or the sight of blood (although not as bad as my brother, who was told to sit on the floor during the births of his daughters in case he passed out! Sorry for ruining your macho man image, Mike!) On one occasion, just after the nurse got the needle in my arm, I started feeling nauseous, so I was given juice and doughnuts (and more juice) and I had the standing fan aimed directly at me, because they thought I was going to pass out! They took the needle out and recommended that I not try to donate again.

After my experience in 2016, I was determined to ‘pay it forward’ and try to donate at least seven pints of blood for the ones that I had received. So, when the blood bank was at my school earlier this year and a few of my colleagues were going to donate, I was determined to try again. I arrived with my Coke, they put my chair back in a lying position and I managed to donate my first pint without feeling faint or nauseous! I repeated the experience a few weeks ago again (I did have to lie down in the reading corner in my classroom after that one!) I will continue to try every few months, in the hope that my blood can also save someone’s life and I can also be someone’s hero.

This is my thank you to everybody who has ever donated blood, and I encourage those who can, to donate – even if it is once off. You can also be somebody’s hero and save a life!

“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people” Maya Angelou


Recipe for today
(I’ve chosen this particular recipe, because the story above was definitely a ‘LEMON MERINGUE MOMENT’)

125g Stork bake or butter
5 Tablespoons sugar (less if you don’t want it as sweet)
1 1/3 cup flour

1 can condensed milk
Juice of 2 lemons
2 egg yolks and 3 egg whites
5 Tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Put the margarine/butter into the pie plate you are going to use and put in the oven to melt (while the oven is preheating). Stir in the sugar and then add the flour, stirring until the melted margarine is incorporated. Press the dough into the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides. Bake until light golden.

Pour the condensed milk into a bowl and stir in the egg yolks. Stir in the lemon juice and leave to set for a few minutes. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form (much easier to use an electric beater, unless you have ‘guns of steel’!) Beat in the sugar, until shiny and stiff. Pour the condensed milk mixture onto the cooked pastry base and put spoonfuls of the meringue mixture on top. Spread out so the condensed milk mixture is completely covered. Bake in the oven until light golden on top – it burns quickly, so watch it like a hawk!

Author: Mel Martin

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