Kindness in Action

By Zhang Ling-hui
Translated by Wu Hsiao-ting
Graphic by Su Fang-pei

Mom, now that I’m 18, can I sign up for stem cell donation?” my daughter eagerly asked. “I really want to do this as soon as possible.”

Shortly afterwards, to fulfill my daughter’s wish, we visited a Jing Si Books & Café store in Changhua, central Taiwan, for a Tzu Chi blood stem cell registration drive. Before the required blood draw, I informed the nurse, “My daughter’s veins are superficial and hard to access. Usually, she has to have blood drawn from the back of her hand.”

“No problem!” replied the nurse. “Let’s take a look.” After a couple of attempts, however, the blood still refused to come out. The nurse’s forehead started to sweat. “I’m really sorry!” the nurse said. “Should we let your daughter rest for a while?”

On-site volunteers generously offered us hot tea, nut tarts, and biscuits. We felt a bit shy facing such hospitality, but their warmth was comforting. “If our next attempt still doesn’t work, we’ll take a break. No pressure,” reassured the nurse.

“Don’t be disheartened,” I said to the nurse. “I’m sure your next attempt will work. You can use a butterfly needle [also known as a scalp vein set]. My daughter has been in the hospital before, and that’s how they successfully drew blood from her at that time.”

But as before, the next attempt to draw blood was not successful. Seeing the somewhat disheartened nurse, I quickly reassured her, “The issue is with my daughter, not you. Trust me, the next try will work!”

The air felt tense. To lighten the mood, I tried to lift everyone’s spirits by saying: “Good things take time. Good things take time.” Finally, amid applause, the next attempt was successful, and my daughter fulfilled her 18-year-old wish to sign up to donate stem cells.

Leaving the event venue, my daughter asked me to take a photo of her to remember this brave moment. On our car ride back home, I shared with her that compared with patients struggling to survive, the pain she endured wasn’t much. “Indeed!” my daughter said. “But it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park collecting blood from me. The nurse had a hard time! She was so nervous.”

We are all born with innate kindness, but kindness needs action and support. My daughter’s compassionate heart has our wholehearted support, and we look forward to finding a matching recipient soon. We are all committed to saving lives!

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