DEAR ABBY: My grandfather is an amazing man. He served his country during World War II. He postponed his dreams to give his five children a better life. He and my grandmother sacrificed and saved so that their children would have the chance to go to college and emerge debt-free. He is the kindest and gentlest person I have ever known.
Last summer, at the age of 84, he almost died of a still undiagnosed blood disorder. What saved his life were multiple transfusions of donated blood. Since that time, he has returned to the hospital for further transfusions and is doing fine.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who gave their time and their blood so that my grandfather could live. Thank you for giving him the opportunity to meet and fall in love with his first great-grandchild. Thank you for giving Grandpa his 62nd wedding anniversary and his 85th birthday. Thank you for allowing his extended family to gather in celebration of Christmas. Thank you for every day that you have given our family the chance to absorb more of his wisdom.
Abby, please ask your readers to take the time to save a grandpa, a child, a stranger or a relative. Give blood. -- KRISTA L. THORNTON, NASHVILLE, TENN.
DEAR KRISTA: Thank you for your eloquent letter. A pint of blood is easy and painless to give, and it can literally mean the difference between life and death. Readers, if you won't do it for yourselves, consider doing it in the memory of a loved one who didn't make it.
Contact the nearest Red Cross Center by looking in your telephone book or asking the information operator, or call 1-888-256-6388 for the location of your nearest community-focused blood center.
DEAR ABBY: As a child protective social worker and parent-education instructor, I would like to add to your advice to "Concerned Knoxville Mom" whose 10-year-old daughter answers the door when she shouldn't and leaves the door unlocked. None of this is unusual for a 10-year-old left unsupervised for even short periods.
"Concerned Mom's" daughter is saying by her behavior that she is not ready to handle the responsibility of supervising herself for even a short time. A 10-year-old child should not be left unsupervised. It's often too tempting for a child that age to take advantage of his or her "freedom" and try to get away with things they wouldn't get away with when a parent is around.
You should have advised "Concerned Mom" to ask a trusted relative, a friend or neighbor to allow the child to stay at his or her home for the brief period before "Concerned Mom" comes home from work. She should also check with her local welfare department or child protective services about financial assistance for child care. These agencies can direct her to after-school care programs or, if necessary, can even certify a relative, friend or neighbor, after completing a background check and evaluating his or her home, making this alternative caregiver eligible to receive compensation through state child-care funds.
If "Concerned Mom" looks hard enough, she can find alternatives to leaving her 10-year-old daughter at home alone. -- CHILD PROTECTIVE SOCIAL WORKER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SOCIAL WORKER: What a helpful letter. I'm sure it will interest many parents of latchkey children from coast to coast who are unaware of the potential help that is available to them.
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