Dianne Russo, former milk donor and current MMBA ambassador, shares her story about why she chose to donate with her son, Ben, and how becoming a milk donor has enabled her to begin teaching him the importance of giving back at a young age
When I was a high school teacher I loved the feeling of being needed by my students. But after my son was born I became a stay-at-home mom and, suddenly, I was only needed by him. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best job in the world to care for my child, but I missed the feeling of being needed by people outside of my home. That’s when I came across the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin. The idea that my breast milk could literally save the lives of premature and sick infants was the ultimate reward. And all I had to do was pump a little extra milk each day while my little one was sleeping! Every time I dropped my donations off at the milk bank I would picture little babies drinking my milk and instantly growing bigger and stronger. I’d thank my son for sharing his precious milk so that other babies could live a healthy life just like him. I know that someday he’ll understand.
The day my son was born was, of course, the best day of my life. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was also the scariest. I suddenly felt this tremendous responsibility, not only to take care of this amazing little creature, but also to guide him and teach him well. One of the things I wanted to teach him was the importance of giving to others in need, and in order to do that, I had to make sure I would always lead by example. Now that we are no longer donating milk, Ben and I are finding other ways to do some good. We are working with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training organization to launch a new Moms in Training
People often think that volunteering your time and resources to help others is a selfless act. I disagree. People help others not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes them feel good. It’s actually quite selfish, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I hope that my son will grow up to be even more selfish than I am.