Over the years, I’ve been blessed to make a ton of friends through the wonders of social media. I started blogging when I moved to Edinburgh – I’ve always kept journals and been pretty open about my life, and in the year 2007 I moved 5 times. I left a ton of friends behind in Aberdeen, and communicating that year wasn’t made particularly easy when I was moving so much. I was also applying for jobs I bit like I am now and working where I could get shifts in an old job I’d held as a student.
Cyberspace became my constant. My place to write and try to make sense of the world. The place where I found people who were using cyberspace to do the same thing I was. Writing their thoughts, their experiences and hoping that just maybe, someone out there would understand.
There are a fair number of friendships I have made over this strange ungeographied place and one of them is Holly. She was all the way over in New Zealand. We worried about Holly when the Christchurch earthquake took place until we heard she was ok. Despite the distance, together we helped our other friend, Rebecca start Airmail Christmas after one of Becca’s patients died of cancer after telling her what her Christmas wish would be. And one day, Holly messaged us to tell us she was moving to the UK. Becca and I were so excited for the chance to finally meet our friend in person (as Becca and I had met up a few times ‘in real life’ by this point). In August 2013 I finally got to make Holly my ‘in real life’ friend. We went to Edinburgh Castle together, and a few months later she was one of three blog-turned-in-real-life friends who travelled up from England to help me throw a party for my 30th birthday. Holly, Becca and our other blog-turned-IRL-friend, Ruth blew up balloons and spacehoppers, helped wrap pass the parcel gifts, made chocolate crispie treats…and didn’t bat an eyelid at the chaos of the next day.
They read my posts sharing about the documentary about another blogger, Eva called 65_RedRoses and advocating for organ donation. I guess all three of us have used our blogs to advocate for more awareness about health issue ourselves and our friends have experienced.
This weekend, Holly is in hospital. She’s still been tweeting away to me and Becca (and others). The pesky kidney disease that she’s been having a battle with is trying to take down our friend. I may have been using a few angry face emojis in reaction to this. I hate that Holly is having to go through this. Unfortunately it’s not in any of our control. We do know that our awesome friend is going to need a kidney transplant at some point.
I hate it when my friends are going through crummy times, and there’s nothing I can do to change it. So I’m doing the only thing I know – I’m writing about it. And once again I’m using this little blog platform of mine once again to promote awareness about organ donation.
Organ donation is voluntary – and in the UK, even if you’ve signed up to the NHS organ donor register, your next of kin still can deny permission for hospitals to allow you to donate your organs at your time of death. (Rebecca years ago agreed to come and tackle my Mum if she denies permission for my organs to be donated. My older brother Mark also took note as well, but I’m not convinced he’ll remember. Sorry Mark).
If you’re not sure if you are on the register it is easy to find out – call the NHS Blood and Transplant service on 0300 123 23 23 and you can check, and even amend your details. And if you haven’t registered you can do so by going to the Organ Donation Scotland website or download the form, print it off, complete and post it to the NHS Blood and Transplant service.
I don’t know how organ donation works in other countries, but I urge you to find out, and feel free to share details in the comments. I would love love love if we could raise more awareness about the need for organ donors. There’s a charity I’ve supported for many years called ‘Live Life Then Give Life‘. That’s exactly what I’d like to do.
I hope you might be up for that too.