A Donor's Story: Don

Apr 9, 2020 | Katy Maeder | @katymaeder

Don DeCraemer

After learning that his father needed to undergo heart surgery, Don completed his first Red Cross blood donation 45 years ago and has continued donating blood ever since.

“I realized the importance of blood donations at that time and began coming in periodically at Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center once I became an employee,” Don shared. “It was easy to get into the habit of donating as Mayo allows employees paid time off to donate, if staffing is adequate and approval is granted from their supervisor. It was so easy.”

As an electrical engineer, Don was the project manager for the redesign of the original Hilton Building in 1990 and has always felt a connection to the staff in this building. He got to know many physicians, administrators and staff in almost every lab in the Hilton including the Transfusion Center.

“The importance of blood donations was reinforced within me about 10 years ago, when my grandson, Luke, needed heart surgery just two weeks after he was born,” Don shares.

About 20 years ago, he became familiar with the Apheresis program, as he was managing the facilities project that moved the Cancer Center (including the Apheresis program) into the Gonda Building. Interestingly enough, in those days, the Apheresis donors and the platelet recipients were in the same room! The friendly Apheresis staff extended the invitation to him to consider becoming a platelet donor.  After successfully donating platelets, he began alternating between platelet and whole blood donations.  Now, he just donates platelets to help out the patient inventory.

“Since my retirement about six years ago, I try to donate every couple of weeks when I am not traveling. I like donating. It’s easy to do. It’s a small way for me to make a contribution,” Don smiles.

When he was still working, he shares, “I would simply tell people that it’s easy to do. It doesn’t take much time … and you can help save a life.”

A very special and heartfelt thank you goes out to you, Don, for your tremendous dedication to our program. I am certain that many of our patients, if they could would tell you that they owe their lives to you for your selfless act of donating the life-saving blood product that they or their family member has received.

We here at the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program appreciate you and your friendship. Together we are making a difference in this world.

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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