Blogmas Day 9: The one where I send my airmail Christmas card…

So Rebecca text me during the week (one of those times where I see someone has sent me a text on my way to/while I’m at work and then totally forget to respond in any way) asking if I’d write about how we can use our Christmas Cards to raise awareness.

Every year, I’ve always used the back of the envelope to write messages that can be seen by people who handle the card. I figure that several postal workers at least are going to see it while it is in transit.

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Also, on the inside of the card, I’ve written about why organ donation is important to me. I think Rebecca suggested doing this on her original post about this year’s Airmail Christmas.

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It’s also a tradition that we post pictures of the cards we send/receive on social media (obviously making sure not to share contact information in the process – such as the addresses on the envelopes). You can see last year’s card pictures on the Gallery page. As pictures start to get e-mailed in or popping up on social media I will add them to the page.

Hopefully you’ve already begun to post your cards (I’ll confess I never got to the post office today, so I’m going to have to hope I get a chance on my way to work on Monday).

Please do post pictures using the hashtag #airmailchristmas so I can find them!

Thanks everyone!

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Blogmas Day 8: The one with a memorial garden on an important anniversary…

Apologies, for my Blogmas fail. What was I thinking? I work in RETAIL! It’s DECEMBER!

Yep. I was mad. I think we can determine that I have not and will not manage a post for every day of Advent!

However, though I’m not doing proper vlogmas on YouTube (just too much) I am trying to put up a very short video each day on my instagram page. And I’m taking part in the Penguin Books Christmas Challenge there too. You’ll be sick of the sight of my face and my books by 2017.

This week has been crazy, but in the midst of it something super special happened. My friend Holly came to Edinburgh with her Mum. And one of my days off fell during her visit (this so rarely happens, my friend Daniela was over in Scotland from Italy the week of Black Friday and I never got to see her at all). Holly has been here three times before, so rather than repeat what we had already done, we decided to get a bus to the Royal Botanic Gardens. RBGE is somewhere I spent a lot of my childhood and teenage years but now I don’t live as close by so I hadn’t been there for a long time. We walked in through the East Gate, and the first sign we saw pointed towards something I assume must be a fairly recent addition to the Gardens because I don’t remember seeing it before. A National Memorial Garden for Organ and Tissue Donors in Scotland. Nothing could have been more poignant for us to see, as it was exactly 2 months to the day that Holly had received a life saving transplant.

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We took some time looking at the work they had done, and working out the words etched into stone. One of the most meaningful being these “nothing that ends in a gift ends in nothing

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I’ve since looked  up the artist who was commissioned to create this wonderful space, his name is Alec Finlay. He has written about the process of contemplating and creating it on his blog. What a humble and wise person he seems.

And of course, we saw lots of squirrels. This epitomises how they felt about me trying to snap a picture of them.

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Afterwards, we headed back into the city centre to get some lunch, called up Rebecca (who was on a break at work) and took a wander around the Christmas Market. And if you’ve been following my instagram feed you know we went to see one of the most important icons of Edinburgh’s Christmas: The Jenner’s Christmas Tree.

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As I look back on this last year, it’s been pretty darned sucky. But days like this make it so much better as I am reminded in a massive way of how lucky I am to have great friends. And how lucky we are that a family who lost were so generous to give a gift that has given not just to our friend, but all of us who love her.

The one about Airmail Christmas 2016…

Four years ago my friend Rebecca met a lady called ‘Robin’ who  wanted her Christmas wish fulfilled by sending a card to a complete stranger. It was her way of trying to spread Christmas cheer around the world before she passed away. That first year, Rebecca asked myself and our friend Holly to help make that happen. Since then we have honoured Mama MB, Anna Basso and Kylie Myers. This year the idea is the same. but with a difference.

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This year Airmail Christmas wants to honour life, and specifically organ donation. Recently our friend Holly, who Rebecca and I met through blogging, had her life saved by receiving a new kidney. It was a wonderful day when we received the message from Holly that her call had finally come. Holly had to wait for her new organ, like so many people awaiting transplants on the register. The sad fact is many of those people waiting die, and this is due to a lack of people signing up to the organ donation register.

Neither of us can imagine having a world without Holly, and so far her recovery is progressing slowly but surely. So Airmail Christmas wants to get people talking through the card exchange. The topic of dying matters and as human beings we can prevent that. In the UK alone there are over 10,000 people requiring an organ transplant. But sadly just 4000 donations take place each year.

One donor can save and improve the lives of up to nine people – that’s amazing! And just that one card could open up a conversation. Then the wishes expressed in that conversation could save many lives, if a persons life sadly comes to an end. 

If you would like to participate in A Very Airmail Christmas, here’s how you can

1) Send us your name & address (it can be your home, work or anywhere else address that you’d like a card posted to you at) to the designated email address: airmailchristmas@gmail.com by Monday 5th December 2016.  Your addresses will be held confidentially and not shared with anyone else apart from the person who will be sending you the card.

If you have a preference of posting a card within your own country (due to postage costs) then please note this in the email.

2) On Tuesday 6th December, Rebecca will be randomly matching Airmail Christmas participants. We will then email you the address of someone else that you can send a card to this year.

3) Write and post your Christmas Card as soon as possible, especially if it needs to go abroad. If possible talk about why organ donation is important to you in the card, or if not you can use the hashtags of #organdonation #donatelife and #airmailchristmas on the card and envelope. It is just something to trigger a conversation. 

4) Wait for your card to arrive. Feel free to send a picture of the card (please be careful not to share addresses from the envelopes!) to us to post in our Airmail Christmas gallery, or post a picture of the card on social media with the #airmailchristmas hashtag.

So lets get this Christmas card exchange started…have a wonderful Airmail Christmas season everyone.

 P.S. Please spread the word and encourage folks to sign up if you feel so inclined, by sharing this blog post on facebook, twitter, your own blog… THANK YOU!

BK’s YouTube Picks: Even When I’m Gone

I stumbled across this video which was created by the Children’s Cancer Research Fund for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month last year, in a tribute to some of the teens who had battled cancer with the team at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital.

I really won’t stop yelling about the need for more research into childhood cancer until we see things change, like we have with breast cancer.

The same as I’ll always be yelling about organ donation too…until our transplant waiting lists are down, and more people are speaking out about their wish to be organ donors if it is possible when they die.

Don’t forget the Olivers, the Zachs, the Kylies, the Evas, the Annas, the Kinas, the Emilys, the Jessicas, the Talias…we need to remember them and their message and wishes…that no one would die waiting for transplant, that there would be no more cancer and that CF would stand not for Cystic Fibrosis but ‘Cure Found’.