What is the least that we can do to help those in need?

I turned 20 the other day. Here’s to a period in my life where I’ll be doing exciting things- late night outs, graduating, living frugally, travelling, finding love. As a child, most things I’ve dreamt of were things that I associated with the 20s. Dreams.

I received a birthday video from Princess Cruises on my birthday with facts about birthdays. This one really resonated with me:

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Dreams. They’re probably referring to the act of dreaming- a series of thoughts and sensational experiences during sleep. But repeating this sentence in my head made me wonder. What if you could also dream of 1460 lifetime aspirations or ideals in a year? That’s only 4 dreams per day. I definitely have at least that!

We’re lucky that we can dream. We can dream in our sleep, AND we can dream of our aspirations. But what about those people who can’t dream? Those people with problems in their central nervous system that prevents pons from sending neurons into the thalamus while they’re sleeping. Those people whose lives are so deprived that every time they dream of leading a life like what we would consider as ‘normal’, they’re constantly reminded of how unworthy that dream is, like the children I met when I volunteered at the orphanage back in Cambodia. Every time they become attached to a volunteer, the volunteer would leave, which is when they realise that they are so unworthy of love. Every time. Every single volunteer.

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The next fact from the video got me thinking more. This was when I remembered that it’s been 5 months since my last blood donation with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, when the minimum amount of time between blood donations is 3 months. I knew it was time to go back as a birthday present to myself.

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Filling out forms at the Donor Centre

Since 98% of atoms in our bodies are replaced every year. I don’t see why us healthy human beings who receive so many more resources than needed shouldn’t donate our blood at least once a year. While it’s not exactly travelling around the world and helping those in third world countries, it IS helping those at home who are in need. As in-flight safety videos always say: “Secure yourselves first before helping others,” we should help those in need from our own countries before helping others.

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In the middle of a blood donation

It’s bizarre to think that one of the most charitable foundations like the Red Cross struggles to find blood donors. Apparently, one in 3 Australians need blood some time in their lives, but only one in 30 would give. It only takes about an hour, it helps your own body functions to replace their cells, every blood donation saves 3 lives, and every donation comes with awesome perks. This was my birthday present to myself for turning 20, but honestly, I felt like it was the least I could do on my birthday. Here’s to a period of feel-good days like this one, and I hope you’ll also have many of these too.

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Guilt-free raisin toast and a milkshake after blood donation 🙂

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