A Donor's Story: Elaine May

May 1, 2021 | Lauren Brown | @laurenbrown

As a staff member at the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center for five years, Elaine May knows the importance of lifesaving blood donations. Her connection to the Blood Donor Center runs deeper than employment, though. She understands personally how much it means to have blood available for someone in need.

At 23, Elaine was diagnosed with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare blood disorder. Elaine was hospitalized off and on with low platelet counts requiring plasma apheresis, and low hemoglobin requiring blood transfusions using approximately 260 units of blood components. Her family and friends organized a blood drive during this extremely stressful time.

Elaine’s husband, Tom, has been a blood donor for many years because of his wife’s experience. "To date, I have donated over 300 times. My goal is to reach 400 blood donations by the time I am 70. This is my way of giving back." Tom says thankfully.

In 2016, Elaine required a kidney transplant due to complications from her medical condition. Her sister, Mary Maiers, also a Mayo Clinic employee, gave her the "gift of life" when she donated a kidney to Elaine.

Elaine reflects: "Having medical challenges has provided me with a greater appreciation of life. I am blessed with family and friends that have supported me during my health issues. The support and love I’ve felt from their unselfish acts of donations are overwhelming."

Elaine is currently healthy and happily retired after a 40-year career at Mayo Clinic. Elaine, Tom and their son, Eric, give thanks every day for their blessings.

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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