A Patient Story: Valerie

Nov 1, 2022 | Stacie Hammer | @shammer26

After experiencing chronic pain in her knee, Valerie Kimball finally decided it was time to get things checked out by her family doctor. A few tests and X-rays revealed that she had a form of osteosarcoma, a diagnosis that came on her 16th birthday. Her family was distraught over her diagnosis, but Valerie remembers feeling “16 and invincible.” Valerie’s treatment plan required chemotherapy, numerous blood transfusions, as well as a knee and partial femur replacement.

Although Valerie lives with minor complications, she has been in remission for more than 20 years. And her story has come full circle. She’s now a nurse in Hematology at Mayo Clinic, working with a team that gives blood transfusions to patients receiving chemotherapy. Valerie says this career path seemed like a natural fit, following in the footsteps of so many health care providers who had touched her life. One of her fondest memories from her medical journey is of her favorite nurse who went above and beyond to put a smile on Valerie’s face, including sneaking in soda with a licorice straw. Looking back, it was this nurse who sparked Valerie’s interest in her chosen career.

When asked what she might say to a blood donor, Valerie’s answer is simple: “THANK YOU.” She added that the patients she sees face so many challenges through their treatments, and having blood products on hand to administer is one less thing for her as a nurse to worry about. As a patient, she also extends her gratitude for those who contributed to her past transfusions, making her life today possible.


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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