Blood Donation Led to Early Cancer Diagnosis

Jan 31, 2018 | Katy Maeder | @katymaeder

Kim and Sabrina Hernandez edited

The Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program family recently added two new donors to the family. Kim and Sabrina decided to donate while they were visiting Rochester, Minnesota. It was at Josie's request (Kim's daughter and Sabrina's sister) that the two came in for a visit. Josie has been an avid blood donor since she was just 16. Now 20, Josie is an advocate for blood donation. While at her blood donation appointment, Josie was told that her pulse was very high—deferring her from donating that day. Her technician suggested that she visit her health care provider as soon as possible.

Josie took her technician’s advice and went to see her clinician the next day. After running several tests, her provider diagnosed her with thyroid cancer. Josie has been receiving radiation treatment and has been fighting cancer for a little over a year now. Even though she is going through this difficult time, she is still advocating for blood donation. She credits the process of blood donation for helping to catch the cancer. Thyroid cancer typically does not have any signs or symptoms early on, so it can be hard to detect.

The process of blood donation includes a review of the person's medical history and a mini-physical examination. The potential donor's pulse, blood pressure, and temperature are checked to make sure that he or she is in good health to donate.

While Josie continues her fight with thyroid cancer, she still is stressing the importance of blood donation. You never know when you or a family member could be in need of the precious gift of blood.

To read more stories like this, visit the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program's Blog.

How to Donate
For more information about donating blood in Rochester, Minnesota, call (507) 284-4475 or email Or visit our website at

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