the Gift of Life
At the holiday season our thoughts turn to helping others. The
FDNY tradition has always been the spirit of giving.
The Bone Marrow Donor program literally gives life to persons with
leukemias and other cancers. Our FDNY members have signed on for
this program starting in probationary class. Currently FDNY members
are the leading marrow donor group nationwide.
After 9/11, the Bone Marrow Program helped our FDNY family by supplying
DNA information and also stored vials of blood. This donor material,
given by our members in the spirit of helping others, became a vital
connection for the bereaved families. The donor blood was utilized
to identify members and also for burial. The circle of giving was
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BLOOD NOW. PEOPLE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT.
- Burn patients use thousands of blood products every year.
- Blood products are perishable and can last as little
as 5 days.
- Blood only comes from volunteer donors.
- The blood supply dips to critically low levels from mid-December
through January and in the summer months.
GIVE THE GIFT
OF LIFE, GIVE BLOOD
The holiday season is known as the season of giving. But our members
continue to give of themselves each and every day for all our citizens
of this great city. Their generosity is demonstrated over and over
again in their daily work as well as in outreach efforts such as
fire safety education, fire prevention talks to neighborhood schools
and various community interactions. In addition to their participation
in the NY Blood Centers' Bone Marrow Donation Program, our members
have a clear understanding of the ravages of fire and the burn injuries
that can occur as a result. If a member is injured and in need of
blood or blood products, the call goes out and our members freely
sign up to help. This need, however, is not exclusive to Fire Department
personnel; our citizens, as we all know, are also victims of fire.
Our communities have the greatest need for blood and its components
each and every day not only when tragedy strikes.
We have been asked to join in an unprecedented partnership with
FDNY and the NY Blood Center. Firefighters and emergency medical
personnel are respected for the contribution they make to the community.
This partnership was developed in recognition of the leadership
role FDNY has played in every community. FDNY personnel will be
involved in the distribution of educational literature on blood
donation to passersby of the firehouses/ems stations and encouraging
the communities for which they serve to contact the NY Blood Center
for a local blood drive or schedule a donation appointment.
The kickoff start date of the public blood drive program will be
held Tuesday, January 6, 2004 from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM at the Cayuga
Room of the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center at 525 East 68th
St, Manhattan. Off-duty field personnel may participate in this
We look forward to the expansion of this program with partnerships
of all other burn centers throughout the five boroughs so that all
communities within the city can participate and benefit from the
generosity of their fellow New Yorkers.
Blood donation was a cause that Fire Captain Timothy Stackpole
vigorously and passionately supported. Before he lost his life on
9/11/01, he was an advocate for the Blood Center program in recognition
of the extraordinary requirements for blood by burn patients. As
this program expands to the five boroughs of NYC, we hope you will
participate. Your blood will save lives, and the life you save could
be the life of a loved one, friend or neighbor!
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Plan FOR Life
Wellness isn’t any one thing. Yes, it’s a good idea
to eat nutritiously and exercise, or play sports, and anytime you
can work any of those into your busy life you benefit. But wellness
is also about balancing all the elements of your life. The idea
is that by bringing all your experiences in harmony, you’ll
be better able to manage stress and feel you have more control over
where the stress takes you.
"Much easier said than done", you say. But think about
it: Your daily struggles with grief and healing these past two years
have gone a long way toward getting you "well". Though
you may not have found a way to incorporate all the wellness ingredients
below into your life (and that’s okay) use the list to see
how you can inject more pleasure and health into your daily routine.
Physical: With all the hard work you’ve been doing
mentally, your body may sometimes get neglected. If so, think about
making some form of cardiovascular exercise part of your fitness
regimen. With flexibility and strength a priority, eating well and
avoiding smoking and drinking to excess – habits that are
also good stress busters-will become second nature.
Emotional: Your quest to accept and honor your feelings,
no matter what they may be, means you are already paying attention
to this area. Although there are days when you may feel anything
but positive, looking for ways to share your emotions with others
can stave off any feelings of sadness on your own.
Intellectual: Focusing on some activity can offer a sense
of comfort needed at the holidays. Whatever keeps your brain engaged
– be it a gripping novel, cooking, crossword puzzles, a woodworking
project or baseball stats-combats stress by grounding you in the
Environmental: The ability to enjoy nature is another key
ingredient of wellness. You may have felt cut off from the world
for a while after September 11th, however now you may be better
able to appreciate the beauty and calming effect of your natural
surroundings again. Whenever you can, get outside, walk, and breathe;
feel your connectedness to all living things.
Cultural: Experiencing other cultures-through travel or
reading-is a healthy way to escape one’s every day reality,
particularly when it’s a painful one.
Social: Harmonious relationships with others enhance your
sense of wellbeing. The loss encountered by many may have complicated
your dealings with some people in your life. It may have brought
you closer to those who have helped you through it or it may have
clarified your expectations of those who have not.
Creative: Building, improving, discovering, dancing, drawing,
painting, cooking, and acting; all these activities can invoke a
sense of wonder and possibility.
Spiritual: The turn your life has taken may have tested your faith.
Spirituality comes in all forms. Any activity-going to a house of
worship, sharing your feelings with a friend or loved one-that helps
you feel part of a greater whole can be profound.
Spiritual: The turn your life has taken may have
tested your faith. Spirituality comes in all forms. Any activity-going
to a house of worship, sharing your feelings with a friend or loved
one-that helps you feel part of a greater whole can be profound.
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The James E. Olsen Foundation has provided the FDNY with 10,000
Colo-Rectal kits for screening of our members. These kits are utilized
at home for screening for the presence of blood in the stool. This
screening device can help in the early detection of colon problems
such as cancer or colitis. The test can be easily done in the privacy
of your own bathroom. If the test does show the presence of blood,
further evaluation should be conducted by your treating physician.
Colon cancer remains a treatable disease with early detection. Risk
factors for developing colon cancer include a family history, colon
polyps and colitis. Further testing may include a colonoscopy which
may reveal the cause of the bleeding. Bleeding can also occur from
the stomach or upper intestines, such as with gastritis or an ulcer.
An upper endoscopy can be performed to directly view these areas.
Causes of upper g.i. bleeding can be alcohol, smoking, stress, caffeine,
asprin and anti-inflammatory medicines.
These kits will be given to members when they come to BHS for their
ANNUAL medical examination. This is part of our continued efforts
to improve our medical evaluation. Early detection of medical problems
remains our goal.
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Dr. Kerry Kelly
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. David Prezant
Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Director, FDNY CSU
Mary T. McLaughlin
Director, FDNY BHS