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Thu, Sep 27 9:03am · A Donor's Story: Keith in Blood Donor Program


Keith didn’t let long distance get in the way of true love. He also knew full well that his then-girlfriend Karen would eventually need a liver transplant. Even so, in 2001, he moved to River Falls, Wisconsin, to be near her while she attended college. Soon after, Karen’s symptoms from her liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis, required her to undergo a liver transplant at Mayo Clinic. Karen was just 22.

The two were married in 2005 and moved to West Central, Illinois. The following year, Karen suffered a bowel obstruction that required three surgeries.

A welcomed blessing came in 2013, when Karen gave birth to Nathan—named after Karen’s liver donor. But, again, Karen’s health down-spiraled and, in 2016, she required a second liver transplant and a kidney transplant.

Rewind back to 2008. While at Mayo with his wife, Keith decided to donate blood at the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center.

“It was handy to donate, as someone who is already there with a patient,” he says. “It was something that I was able to do without causing any delay in my wife’s appointments.”

Since then, whenever the couple visits Mayo, Keith continues to donate in his wife’s honor. As for Karen? She is currently doing well and on her way to recovery.

“I know that I will never be able to give back the amount of blood it has taken to keep my wife alive,” Keith adds. “But if I can help Mayo Clinic provide blood for their patients, then I am more than glad to.”

To read more stories like this, visit the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program’s blog page.

Do you have a story about the impact that blood donation has played in your life? If so, call (507) 284-4475 or send us an email at donateblood@mayo.edu. We would love to hear your story!

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Wed, Jul 18 8:30am · A Blood Recipient's Story: Kathy in Blood Donor Program

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Pregnant with her second child, Kathy returned home after a family gathering and noticed something wasn’t right. Her husband Mike called Mayo Clinic, and he was told to bring her in right away. Because Kathy was considered high risk, she spent the next seven weeks in a hospital bed on the Labor and Delivery floor so she could be closely monitored.

After those seven weeks, Kathy was induced into labor. Unfortunately, she suffered from placenta accreta, a condition that occurs when blood vessels and other parts of the placenta grow too deeply into the uterine wall. The condition caused severe blood loss, requiring her medical team to perform an emergency cesarean hysterectomy.

“They had to remove my uterus in order to save my life,” she says. The many units of donated blood and plasma that Kathy was given also helped save her life.

Baby Hanna was born at 32 weeks. She was tiny, but healthy. Kathy credits their survival to the power of love, her faith, her family, her health care team, and all of the donated blood she received. When Hanna turned 16 last year, she started donating blood (as did her older brother Brady) to perhaps save another mother in need as their own mother was saved.

“I can’t think of a greater gift than blood,” says Kathy. “Blood cannot be manufactured; it takes donors to fulfill the blood supply need for patients who desperately require it. For those wondering if they are making a difference by donating blood, I hope they think of our story.” Kathy and Hanna are living proof that blood donations can save lives.

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

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

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Thu, May 31 10:33am · So We're a Little Late . . . Let's Take a Look back at 2017 in Blood Donor Program

The Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center had a great year in 2017,  filled with many changes and growth. Looking back on 2017, we decided to put together a fun graphic with some Blood Donor Program statistics. Take a look at some demographics of our donors at the Blood Donor Center as well as some Olmsted County demographics.

Final Demographic blog

We are so thankful for all of our dedicated donors who visit the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center. One statistic that stands out is the number of new donors we had in 2017. We added a total of 1,347 new donors to our blood donor family, a 46% increase from 2016.

Comparing our statistics with the 2010 Census of the Olmsted County Community, we found that our diversity is similar, which makes sense. In speaking with our medical director at the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center, he explained why it is so important to have a diverse donor pool.

“There is a need for blood from minority populations,” says Justin Kreuter, M.D., Medical Director of the Blood Donor Program. “For medical reasons, it’s important to have diversity represented in our donor center because we have a very international patient population.”

Our goal for 2018 is to grow our donor population and add more people to our blood donor family at Mayo Clinic.

Do our demographics surprise you? Comment below with your thoughts.

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

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Wed, Jan 31 12:53pm · Blood Donation Led to Early Cancer Diagnosis in Blood Donor Program

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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 donateblood@mayo.edu. Or visit our website at http://www.mayoclinic.org/donateblood.

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Nov 10, 2017 · Vaccinations and Donating Blood in Blood Donor Program

It’s that time of year again, where vaccinations are in order. Interested in learning how long you should wait after receiving a vaccination before donating blood? Take a look at this “cheat sheet” we created to answer some vaccination questions.

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Oct 30, 2017 · Hematology Department "Gives Back" through Blood Donation Challenges in Blood Donor Program

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For the Hematology Department at Mayo Clinic, blood donation is not something new. Each year, the department tries to host three blood donation challenges. Each challenge group within the department has the same goal—seeing who can get more people to donate blood within a specified time frame. The department knows firsthand the importance of blood donation and how it can help to save a life.

“We do this, as a department, knowing that donating blood is one way for us to let our patients in need know that we care. These challenges are also a good way to keep things fun in our work units,” says Amy Phelps, Challenge Leader.

The “friendly competition” started off with each team creating posters to promote the challenge. These posters helped to increase participation and create a fun competition to see who could make the “most liked” poster. The winning team of the poster competition took home a small gift and bragging rights.

In the end, the Myeloid Team came out with the most donations and was declared the winner. The Hematology Department’s blood donation challenge could have touched up to 75 lives with its donations. The department had so much success with this challenge that it has decided to have another unit challenge starting in November.

Get Involved
If your organization or work unit is interested in hosting a Blood Donation Challenge, contact Blood Donor Recruitment Coordinators Kim Schmidt at (507) 266-2382, Jackie O’Reilly at (507) 284-9831, or Katy Maeder at (507) 284-9007.