A Donor's Story: Ann McElmury

Feb 11, 2021 | Lauren Brown | @laurenbrown | Comments (2)

Many blood donors donate in honor of a family member or friend who needed life-saving blood product--for Ann McElmury, that person happens to be her father.

Ann McElmury

In 2000, Ann's father, Joe Zimmerman, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. With his diagnosis, he needed to have his hip, pelvis, and leg amputated. During this surgery he lost a tremendous amount of blood and was told that he needed enough blood transfusions for three people. After hearing just how much blood product their father needed, Ann and her sister Patty vowed to become blood donors.

When Ann became an employee at Mayo Clinic, her and a colleague decided to donate together. Ann says she's been, "hooked ever since." Eventually, Ann learned about platelet donation, and now prefers this type of donation as she personally does not feel as tired following her donation.

At one point, Ann was deferred from donating for a while. Even during this time she remained an advocate for blood donation until she was eligible to donate once again. While deferred, Ann decided to lead a blood donation challenge for her work unit, and continued to do so for eight years!

Once Ann was given the "all clear" do donate once again, she jumped at the opportunity to once again, save lives. Ann told us that even though she is currently working from home, she still carves out time in her schedule to make a trip to our Hilton location in Downtown Rochester for a donation (with platelet donations, donors are eligible to donate as little as every eight days.)

"I know how much our patients need it and I think of my father every time I donate." -Ann McElmury

Although Ann's father made it through surgery, he developed an infection and was unfortunately taken off of life support three days later. Ann says, "He is the reason I donate and [have become] an advocate for blood donation."

How to Donate
For more information about donating blood in Rochester, Minnesota, call (507) 284-4475 or email donateblood@mayo.edu. Or visit our webpage http://www.mayoclinic.org/donateblood.

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Sometimes you work with a real live Hero and don't even know it.

Last time I was in to make a donation, the staff was a little excited. Earlier (as in minutes) a person donated their 400 unit!. I met him while in the waiting area — an colleague of mine! I always knew he was special, 400 other people know how special he is (even if they don't know his name).

Even though I have a ways to catch up with him, I'd like other people to say the same of me some day: There goes an everyday Hero!


Obviously he is very dedicated to donating and has helped improve the quality of life of many and saved the lives of many. I commend him for his accomplishment. I believe all blood donors are hero’s.

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