My name is Barbara Sponseller. I am a DAT team volunteer for the American Red Cross. I am a volunteer because I have survived. I am alive because I have received.
3 1/2 years ago a routine doctors visit resulted in my being told that I have Hemochromatosis, Hep C, and high stage 3 liver disease.
In my fight for life I have received quite a few whole blood transfusions and numerous platelet transfusions. Then I received the gift of life from my organ donor.
Being a transplant patient, I know the value of receiving and the value of being a recipient and I know the true meaning of the phrase of pay it forward.
Many things can cause a physical death but pain, tragedy, and devastation are a few of the things that can kill the spirit.
You can only imagine the hurt and pain you see in a person's eyes when their home and belongings have been destroyed including their vehicle and identification, their children are crying because they are to young and frightened to understand, or the confusion on the face of an 18 year old when his entire family has burned to death.
Try to imagine the hope and relief when you arrive and say
I am with the Redcross and I am here to help you. Try to imagine the appreciation for something so little as a hotel room with a warm bed on a cold night, money for food and clothing, vouchers for eye glasses and medication or a white plastic bag that we call a comfort kit that contains toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, razor, and shampoo. You would think they just received the winning lottery ticket.
Fitzgearld once said give me a hero and I will show you a tragedy. The Redcross has been a hero to many families while they have endured their tragedies. Tragedy knows no social or financial boundaries, nor any geographic or demographic limitations. Today I say thank you for all who have contributed to my life's journey and for giving me the opportunity to give back to my community in their time of crisis. thank-you.