“All I want for Christmas…”

Jagatman’s amputation

“All I want for Christmas…” It isn’t two front teeth. (Did you know that Nat King Cole does a version of that song?) 

It’s a leg.

With all the shopping we do at Christmas, imagine wishing only for a leg. When I visited Nepal in September, I reported on one of our “boys,” Jagatman. He’s only 26, same age as my daughter Tara. Unlike her, his life is so uncertain and frail. He has hemophilia; he lives in a country that purchases no factor. 

Jagatman at work

And he lost his leg due to an untreated bleed. Through Project SHARE, we provided factor for the surgery to remove his leg, to save his life. And he’s so grateful to us. Sigh, the fates must be angry. The April 25 earthquake ripped apart his brick home. I stood before the rubble of what once was the home of the Rajbchak family. 

But he has a mobile phone repair shop (Save One Life helped get him started with funding) and I saw him eagerly at work. He’s good! Industrious, focused and determined to succeed. It must have taken a lot of courage to ask me to help him purchase a leg. He’s outgrown his current prosthetic; it hurts him. Given the high tolerance for pain these boys have, it must re

ally hurt him. He earns only about $500 a month from the shop, and must pay rent. The leg he showed me in a colorful brochure costs almost $4,000. A fortune. A king’s ransom.

With brother Monsoon,
who also has hemophilia

But I promised this handsome young man that by Christmas, we’d buy him that leg. What better gift?

And last week we made good. The money was wired and he will soon have his leg. Despite a chronic disorder, limited access to medicine and poverty, Jagatman is beating the odds. His attitude is astounding; his determination like Rocky’s. His focus like a laser beam. 

And he’ll never know that the gift he’s given me is so much more than anything I can ever give him. 

Merry Christmas to our friends in Nepal, and those with bleeding disorders everywhere!

Great Book I Just Read

Life [Kindle]
Keith Richards

Best rock bio I have ever read. Told by the iconic guitarist of the Rolling Stones, Richards almost seems as surprised by his life’s journey as you are bound to be after reading this. Meticoulously detailed, Richards shares his humble beginnings, his teen encounter with life long rock partner Mick Jagger, their rocky road to fame, the drugs, the alcohol… but what makes this bio so different is first, the Stones are one of the greatest rock bands in the world, from the early 60s and still playing! Second, Richards delves into the music: his love of American blues, what he wrote, why, how he got ideas, the chords, the notes, the guitars. This is what I have been wanting to know: how do these musicians create? He’s a voracious reader, loves his library, and lives in Connecticut, a few hours from me. He’s a survivor for sure, and what a story he has to tell. Five/five stars!

Bloody Good Gift


I got a big laugh out of an email from friend, colleague and fellow-writer Richard Atwood, former president of the Hemophilia Foundation of North Carolina. He has a helpful suggestion for holiday gifts.

“If you are still searching for the right holiday gift, then let me suggest a jigsaw puzzle of either an MRI, x-ray, or artwork in full color of an osteoarthritic knee or knee joint replacement. There are 19 puzzles of knees, each with 300 pieces available for just under 18 British pounds, as listed in the United Kingdom site of amazon.uk in the toy department (though the puzzles are not listed on the American site of amazon.com – just search using ‘jigsaw osteoarthritic knee’).

“While you may consider these jigsaw puzzles to be a bit pricey, compare them to the actual cost of a real MRI to enjoy the savings. So when the outside temperature falls and your joints stiffen up, then just settle down in a warm room to put together a picture of your pain, piece by piece.”

So I went to amazon.com.uk and he was right! And, they make superb gifts, according to Amazon. Yes, nothing says “Merry Christmas!” quite like a jigsaw puzzle of the knee joint.

I got curious and poked around, and guess what? They actually have jigsaw puzzles of blood clots! I am not making this up. Only $28. And… you guess it. They also make superb gifts!

Not only that but you can even get a jigsaw of blood samples, for that true lab enthusiast. The possibilities for biological recreational activities seem endless. The British really know how to have a good time.

Happy shopping!

Good Book I Just Read

The Personal Touch by Terrie Williams

Terrie Williams is a woman of color, as she pluckily reminds us many times, and former social worker, who started her own public relation firm with almost nothing to go on but her sharp instincts, a few lucky breaks, and a winning personality and steel-strong ethical code. She is president now of one of America’s most successful public relations firms. Her words of wisdom on how to succeed in business may not seem like anything new or original, but she is a gifted writer, great storyteller, and she reminds us of the basics, which I am sad to say so many are losing: treat everyone the same, respectfully; remember to write thank you notes (a dying art!); smile (people will perceive you as more intelligent); remember people’s names; listen, listen, listen; go for the gold! Published in 1994, the material might seem a bit dated, but the essence of it is timeless. I read this book every few years and get reminded of how to be a better person, which will immediately make me a better businesswoman. Terrie, great job with this! Four stars.