Giving Back Day!

Donating, volunteering and MORE!

How our ISMN Teachers Give Back!

Ms. Miller's Story: Stem Cell Transplant

Selena Gomez, Evel Knievel, Sarah Hyland, Steve Jobs, and Tracy Morgan are all well known names to many of us. They also all share one very unique characteristic. They have all had an organ transplant surgery where they were the recipient of a new organ. Organ transplant can save lives, and many of us have heard of this but accordingly to the American transplant Foundation there are many more facts that we might not have known.

Being a math teacher, I love statistics and percentages. Seeing that over 115,000 people are currently on a wait list for a transplant is not very good odds. I am incredibly lucky to share with you my donor story from a different angle. I did not have to wait for a donor to become available, I was able to be my own donor. Living in chronic pain stemming from my lower back, and hips was becoming routine and normal for me as I have lived with it for about 10 years. Lots of physical therapy, TONS of shots, too many to count MRI’s and lots of different theories from Dr’s but nothing would take the pain away. Roughly 9 months ago while seeing yet another Dr. (seeing Dr’s all over the twin cities was becoming normal for me) he mentioned a procedure called PRP (Platelet-rich Plasma). In simple terms the procedure entailed taking my blood, harvesting certain stem cells and implanting them directly into the tendons and muscle in hopes that they would re-build the area that was destroyed. How cool, my body could potentially heal itself. Over this past summer I had the procedure done, in fact I was still in recovery when school started this year. The procedure itself was very expensive and painful, as was the recovery. One of the hardest hardships of transplants of any kind is the cost and lack of insurance coverage for such procedures. Another huge downside is the recovery process. For the first two months after recovery I was not allowed any type of pain pills for pain management. My body needed to do all the work to restore the cells that were damaged by bringing inflammation down naturally and re-growing areas that were essentially “dead”. I could not put weight on either leg and was in bed for about a week, crutches were used for about a week after that. When you talk about transplants of any kind, organ donation or stem cell transplant (which is what I had) there is a risk of rejection. For whatever reason your body rejects the new organ, tissue or cells. In a stem cell transplant all patients heal at various different rates. My body is healing very slowly. Some days I feel pretty good and other days I feel pretty defeated that the new stem cells were not able to take hold. Since school has started I have gone through a few more booster shots to see if that doesn’t kick start the stem cells. I have also started to reduce inflammation in my body by using various vitamins, supplements and dietary changes. I haven’t given up hope yet, my orthopedic is one of the few in Minnesota who performs this procedure with a high amount of confidence. I see him on a regular basis and he continues to find ways to remain optimistic. I am truly grateful for the medical advancements, treatments and opportunities, who knows if this doesn’t work maybe something else will. Knowing that we have the ability to save lives by donating various organs, and tissues is amazing. Having the ability to use parts of your own body to heal other parts is truly incredible.

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Ms. Klersy: Providing for the homeless

Each year my family has the opportunity to help sort and fill bags of winter necessities for the homeless. The contents are donated by a large company and includes things like hats, mittens, extra warm socks, tooth brushes, toothpaste, Kleenex, chap sticks, and lots more! It is a long assembly line and as you walk down the line, you fill the bag with one of each item. The last station is a card making station where we write notes of hope and care during the cold winter season. After the bags are filled, they are distributed to the homeless people. Lots of the bags will go to a shelters to hand out, but we also bring bags home and put them in our car to hand out as we see people on the streets. The whole process is really heartwarming; it helps my family remember how important helping others is and the process is really simple so all of my kids can help with it, age doesn’t matter. When handing the bags out, we really get to experience how thankful and how much help others need. The gratitude and happiness with such a small gift is really what it’s all about.

Save the Date for Our Volunteer Event in Febuary!

Feed My Starving Children

Friday, Feb. 15th 2019 at 11am-1pm

401 93rd Avenue Northwest

Coon Rapids, MN

Video Resources:

Video on Organ Donation and Transplantation

This video, created by Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, explains the transplant waiting list, how someone becomes a donor, the process of matching organs and signing up to share the gift of life.

This video is also available in Spanish here.

Other Ways you can give back to your community and BEYOND!

Donating clothes and home items you no longer use, need or want

Raising money for charities that match your values and interests

Participating in fundraisers for causes and programs you care about

Helping at the local food bank or donating to the local food bank/soup kitchen

How to Find Volunteer Opportunities Near YOU!

How do you give back?

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