Staff News

Make Valentine’s Day about giving back to the community

February 12, 2015 by Guest Contributor

By Sarah Shinn Campbell

Sarah Shinn Campbel with her stepdaughter, son and husband.

Sarah Shinn Campbel with her stepdaughter, son and husband.

This Saturday it will be Valentine’s Day.

Millions of women are dropping hints as to what they would like: a ring, a diamond ring, a new watch, flowers, chocolates, a fancy dinner, a new car … I could go on and on with the list of demands. In about a week, millions of men will be scampering around trying to find something that would be “worthy” to give to their significant others.

My husband and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day; we have made our own holiday that we call “anti-Valentine’s Day.”

We don’t get big expensive gifts.  We don’t go out for fancy dinners. In the past we have hand drawn cards (my husband likes to draw black hearts and flowers) and have ordered sushi to-go and eaten it at home on the balcony; me with a glass of plum wine and Shawn with a cold Kirinichiban.

This year, because Valentine’s Day happens to be the first free weekend we have had in a while, I did ask him for something. He said “sure.” The beautiful part is that I know, regardless of if it were February 14 or not, he would have said “sure.” You know, “sure,” like I asked for the last bite of dessert or for him to pass the salt. “Sure,” like I asked for something so normal and simple. But to us, to him, it is simple.

So what is it that I asked for? I asked my husband to come donate platelets with me at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Two hours of his time and mine stuck next to each other – nay, strapped down – in chairs while he will probably tell anyone and everyone who comes in and out that will listen that most wives try to squeeze jewelry out of their husbands for valentines but his wife demanded blood.

So, for two people who don’t really believe in Valentine’s Day, we seem to have found the epitome of a selfless, loving and generous gift, a true expression of love, worth more than all the material Valentine’s Day gifts in the world to the children in need of transfusions since jewelry sitting in my case and flowers dying on my table will not keep their little hearts beating.

So, what are you asking for this year as an expression love?

About the author

Sarah Shin Campbell is an academic program specialist in Irvine. She has been watching a friend struggle as her 2 year old daughter battles high risk stage 4 neuroblastoma and so wanted to do something and give some food for thought to others to do something different this year for Valentine’s, to maybe do something truly worthy of being called a “gift.” 

More about Valentine’s Day:

  • Plenty of love to go around at Brandman
  • Why do we need Valentine’s Day?

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