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Tue, Jul 7 12:55pm · Jackson's Heaven Anniversary in Blood Donor Program

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Five-year-old Jackson began experiencing symptoms his mother, MariClair, attributed to growing pains in the spring of 2006. His continued illness and lethargy, however, convinced her to take him in to the family doctor. After a series of tests and hospital admissions, she and her husband, Tim, received devastating news—Jackson was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma.

Jackson endured several rounds of chemotherapy, then a bone marrow transplant at Mayo Clinic. After the transplant, he had radiation treatments until May 2007.

Jackson remained cancer-free for one year before relapsing in June 2008. The cancer had spread to his brain and marrow again. MariClair and Tim sought treatment at two other medical facilities, continuously supported by Mayo Clinic, so Jackson was able to receive as much treatment at home as possible.

Following a chemotherapy treatment in 2009, Jackson became extremely ill. Experiencing severe difficulty breathing, he was admitted to pediatric intensive care. Jackson fought for two-and-a-half weeks, but his health continuously declined. “We made the gut-wrenching decision to pull all artificial means of life support, and Jackson died in my arms on August 3, 2009, at the age of eight years old,” says MariClair.

MariClair would like to share, “Without the lifesaving gift of blood, Jackson would not have survived his first month of treatments. The transfusions allowed him to feel good after treatments that would have otherwise left him so rundown that he wouldn’t have been able to function.” She and her daughters donate blood whenever they are able to believing that donating on Jackson’s Heaven Anniversary may become a tradition with their family.

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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Mon, Jun 1 3:32pm · A Blood Recipient's Story: Avery in Blood Donor Program

Avery blog

Little Avery’s mother, Bethany, began to worry when the three year old seemed constantly exhausted. Her “mother’s intuition” moved her to pay a visit to their local emergency room to see what was wrong. The staff ended up drawing Avery’s blood twice, because her hemoglobin levels were so low that they thought someone had made a mistake in the reading. They immediately sent Avery on to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

On September 11, 2017, Avery was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “I will never forget that day. Hearing a diagnosis such as this is every parent’s worst nightmare,” Bethany shares. Immediately Avery’s medical team began treating her with blood transfusions, and Bethany was amazed at just how quickly her daughter’s energy level would rebound and her coloring would improve after each unit of product she received.

“The thought of what an amazing and selfless thing giving blood is never really crossed my mind. These people who donated blood for my daughter had nothing to gain except knowing they had done something to help someone,” Bethany recalls.

Currently, Avery is in remission. Hopefully, her two-and-a-half-year treatment plan will be completed at the end of this year. “Before she was diagnosed, she loved to ride her bike with her friends, but she could only go about a block and then would cry, because her friends were so far ahead of her. I remember the first time she got back on her bike after the blood-transfusion treatments. She had all the energy in the world. It was really amazing to see that!”

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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Thu, Apr 9 3:10pm · A Donor's Story: Don in Blood Donor Program

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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Nov 4, 2019 · A Donor's Story: Sue in Blood Donor Program


Sue Moffit

Sue, age 60, has been donating blood since high school, following the altruistic example of her father who was a regular donor. She has such a giving spirit that, in 2007, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she says, “Oddly, it wasn’t ‘Oh, no, I have cancer!’ It was ‘Oh no, I can’t donate blood now for five years!'”

Sure enough, as soon as her five years were up, Sue began donating again. But, having survived cancer, she had another setback three years ago when she was diagnosed with celiac disease. “The mini-physical that you get can be helpful for donors because little things may be discovered,” says Sue, who, after one of those donor physicals, was encouraged to visit her health care provider because of anemia. Her physician tested her for celiac disease for which she was later diagnosed.

Did celiac disease stop Sue from donating? Not a chance. “Once that was taken care of, I was able to come back to donate again,” says Sue. “It’s just so important to me, and I can’t understand why people don’t do it. You don’t have to donate every twelve weeks. Go once a year because even that helps so many people.”

Because she has celiac disease, Sue can’t eat the cookies that donors are offered after donating, so, she says, “I take the cookie and give it to somebody else. I just keep on giving!”

To read more stories like this go to Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program’s Blog Page.

  • A special note from the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program, as of July 24, 2017, a person may be eligible to donate blood one year after completing his or her cancer treatment. To learn more about this please take a look at our cancer-deferral policy or call (507) 284-4475.

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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Oct 14, 2019 · Multiple Reasons to Donate Blood in Blood Donor Program

Sveen family

Michael (Mike) Sveen has many special reasons to donate blood.

When he first started working for Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service, his driving partner was a regular donor. “He invited me to go with him to donate. However, my donation opportunities were sporadic due to a couple of needle sticks that occurred on the job, putting me out a full year from each stick,” Mike shares. He recalls delivering blood to trauma scenes. After seeing how important it was to have blood on hand and administered on site, he realized the need for replacement to the blood inventory. “You can help so many people with a unit of donated blood.”

Then, when his wife, Kathy, required blood following the delivery of their daughter, Hanna, at 32 weeks, it became all that much more important to donate blood for others in need.  (Kathy’s Story)

Mike’s family recently donated together while the kids were home from college this summer. Kathy even donated with them for the very first time. Both Hanna and Brady tease their dad that they are going to someday beat the number of donations he has contributed.

This August, Mike and Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service team took part in a friendly competition called the “Battle of the Badges” Blood Challenge. They made it a priority to donate, and encouraged others to participate as well. Their efforts were rewarded when they came in first place, securing bragging rights and making a critical difference in peoples’ lives.

Mike has participated in many department challenges within Mayo Clinic as well as donating at the Dover Eyota High school mobiles. Mike donates whole blood, platelets, and granulocytes whenever he can.   

Not many of us have as many reasons to donate as Mike does, but our donations are extremely important and needed. Whether you give altruistically, for the gifts, for the cookies, or for another reason, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that we need volunteers to step up to donate for our patients willingly and selflessly, for we never know when one of our loved ones may be on the receiving end of this precious blood.

To read more stories like this go to 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 webpage http://www.mayoclinic.org/donateblood.

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Sep 25, 2019 · A Blood Recipient's Story: Kristie in Blood Donor Program

Kristie Kinneberg

Kristie, age 12 at the time, was in a car with her sister, a friend, and their friends mother at the wheel. As the mother pulled away from a stoplight, a speeding car T-boned them. Though wearing a seatbelt, Kristie was suddenly jolted forward, then slammed back into her seat. Her friend and the mother were okay, but Kristie’s sister suffered a concussion and needed stitches over her left.

Kristie felt generally fine, but as the firefighter on the scene kept asking her questions, Kristie told him about a cramp in her side. It turned out her spleen was damaged, causing internal bleeding. “If it wouldn’t have been for that firefighter who questioned me after the ambulance left, I probably would’ve just gone home and gone to sleep,” says Kristie. “He saved my life.”

By the time Kristie arrived at the emergency room, she’d already lost about one-fifth of her body’s blood, and during her stay in the hospital, she received several units of blood.

Years later, when Kristie was 17, the American Red Cross hosted a mobile blood drive at her high school. “I remembered my accident and how donated blood saved my life,” she says. “I know how precious that gift is, so I was determined to give that gift back.”

Now 30, Kristie is a high school teacher. She continues to give blood via Mayo Clinic’s Blood Donor Program. “Not only am I a blood donor, but when the blood drive comes to our school, I’m a strong advocate for blood donation with my students,” she says.

To read more stories like this go to 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 webpage http://www.mayoclinic.org/donateblood.

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Sep 3, 2019 · Pints for Preemies Blood Donation Challenge is Back! in Blood Donor Program

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Looking at baby Ayden, you would never know the fight he has already faced in his short life. Now a little over a year old, he is a happy—and smiley—baby who enjoys playing with his older brother.

Ayden was born early at 23 weeks gestation, weighing only 1 pound 11 ounces. Immediately after his birth he was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester. Born with a small hole in his heart, Ayden was given ibuprofen to help repair it.

“He had all sorts of lines, wires, and tubes coming out of him. It was surreal seeing such a tiny person have so much attached to his body,” recalls his mother, Nicole. “It was a journey we never saw coming.”

Hospital Photo 2

When one of his nasogastric tubes rubbed a tear in his gastric lining, he began to lose blood. In order to replenish the blood that was lost and to help him gain strength, Ayden was given six blood transfusions. After a total of 112 days spent in the NICU, Ayden was able to go home and grow to be a happy and healthy baby. The only major side effect is that he now needs glasses, due to the effects of an eye disease he had as a premature baby. Otherwise, you would never know that he was a micro preemie.

Ayden’s family saw first-hand the importance that blood product plays in helping premature babies. In honor of World Prematurity Day, the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program will be hosting the Second Annual Pints for Preemies Blood Donation Challenge. Our goal for this year is simple—to bring in more lifesaving blood donations and raise awareness of
World Prematurity Day on November 17.

The challenge is running from September 1 through November 17. To participate, simply stop in at the front desk at one of our two locations and fill out a challenge sheet.

  • Hilton Building, first floor, Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 507-284-447
  • Saint Marys Campus-Joseph Building, main floor, Room M-86, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., 507-255-4359

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

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Apr 24, 2019 · Blessed by Giving and Receiving - Mali's Story in Blood Donor Program

Mali blog

When Mali started as a Mayo Clinic employee 24 years ago, she never imagined that her whole career would revolve around blood product in one way or another.

Beginning her career in venipuncture, Mali was then hired as a technician for the Blood Donor Center in 2002, where her responsibilities included drawing units daily from donors while building relationships with them by keeping them comfortable and informed during their donation. While learning the processes of blood collection and testing, she came to understand just how safe the product she was collecting was. At that time, she was also going back to college to earn her registered nurse (RN) degree.

Her next career responsibilities took her to the Infusion Therapy Center (ITC) area, where she would daily watch patients perk up immediately after receiving a unit of blood. She was able to offer them assurance of the safety of the blood product they were receiving, having worked at the Blood Donor Center herself. “It was very reassuring to my patients when I would share with them my knowledge of the testing the blood they were receiving had already been through. I even told them that I would feel extremely comfortable having my kids receive blood here at Mayo Clinic, knowing of the careful and thorough processing it goes through before it gets to the patient,” Mali shares.

Recently Mali has returned to a nursing role at the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center, taking her career in a full circle. She found that after having worked with the patients who receive the blood, she had a whole new perspective. “Now being back here as a Resource Nurse, I have a face that I see in each unit of blood. A unit of blood means so much more to me, because I had so many patients who I transfused it to. It was helpful for me to have seen the people who it affected and really made a difference for,” she reflects.

Mali’s experience with medical struggles began long before she started her career at Mayo Clinic. At age 11, she was diagnosed with type I diabetes. A typical day involved constant monitoring of her blood sugars. She mastered this practice with the help of her insulin pump, controlling her disease beautifully for about 32 years, but then she began experiencing an increased fluctuation with her levels’ highs and lows. It wasn’t until her daughter tearfully shared with her, “Mom, I worry every night that you won’t wake up in the morning,” that she realized her condition was not only an inconvenience for her, but it was affecting those closest to her by causing them worry and stress. It was then that she decided to discuss her options for a pancreas transplant.

Waitlisted on the transplant list for 15 months, Mali was elated when she received the call that her care team had a pancreas for her. On January 26, 2017, at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Mali’s life changed forever—and for the better.

Everything with the actual transplant went fine, but post-surgery Mali experienced a bowel obstruction that kept her hospitalized and closely monitored for a five-week stay at Mayo Clinic. “Since my transplant, I haven’t needed any insulin nor have I had to check my blood sugars. The transplant worked perfectly,” Mali shares. She now feels extremely free—in the past, sugar such as glucose tablets and raisins had to be within reach at all times. “I didn’t know any other way of life.”

Although Mali never received blood product during her pancreas transplant, she says, “I received an organ, so it’s kind of the same thing, and I tell people all of the time that I am a transplant patient.” She doesn’t share this with those she comes into contact with to get a “Wow!” reaction, but to prove that you never know when someone you meet has been blessed with a successful transplant. She hopes to help them recognize the lifesaving difference that an organ or blood transfusion can make in someone’s life.

Mali and her family have taken that message to heart. “At the one-year anniversary of my transplant, I really wanted to donate blood, but I could not due to my low hemoglobin. My daughter came in with me that day and donated for her second time in order to celebrate my special day. My children are all organ donors and try to donate blood whenever they can.”

In fact, just a few weeks ago in April, which is also Donate Life Month, Mali was excited to have met the criteria and successfully donated blood once again to our patients.

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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