I want to draw your attention to Linda's post about bone marrow donation. I'm already on the registry, but realized after reading her post that I hadn't updated my address information with them for years.
I'm planning to be an organ donor later on, but what I like about bone marrow donation is that you don't have to be dead to do it. It's not even like donating a kidney, where you have a spare but might feel nervous about losing it, in case you need it later. Your body will make more bone marrow, and meanwhile you can save somebody's life with something you can easily manufacture more of.
It's a great idea, and a great way to do a lot of helping without having to donate, say, tons of time or bushels of money. And it isn't as if they'll be calling you ever other week for more marrow: as I understand it, matches with non-family-members are rare. You register just in case you could be a one in a million for somebody else. Follow the links in Linda's post for more information, or go directly to The National Marrow Donor Program.
One thing I'm afraid may talk some of you out of it is that there's a fairly substantial fee to get on the registry: the site says it varies from $52 to $96, and that's a nice chunk of change for a lot of us. They mean it, though, when they say that depending on where and when you join, some or all of your costs may be covered. When I joined, there was a local boy who needed a transplant, and his church and community raised multiple tens of thousands of dollars to cover the cost of anyone who wanted to join the registry, so my joining was totally free. I believe they also have certain limited funds to cover the costs of people who want to join but can't afford it, or can only afford part of it. Here's more information about the cost. I hope you won't let it be a hurdle, because my guess is that there are ways around it and that it would be worth contacting them to ask them to direct you to those ways.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...