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May 8, 2017 · A Donor's Story: Joe Receives Life-Saving Transfusions in Blood Donor Program


When Joe was only three years old, he started experiencing severe headaches. When the headaches couldn’t be treated, he underwent a CT scan and was later diagnosed with a rare primitive neuroectodermal tumor, a highly malignant tumor composed of small round cells that affect soft tissue and bone. For Joe, this tumor was growing in his brain.

Joe had surgery to remove the large mass in his head and then went through several rounds of radiation treatment that spanned several months. His tiny body continued to fight the cancer as he underwent three cycles of high-dose chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant after each dose. He relied on transfusions of red blood cells and platelets until his stems cells engrafted and began to generate new blood cells.

“Without all of those blood transfusions, there is no way that I could have made it through the chemotherapy,” says Joe, now a healthy young 19-year-old. “Just one blood donor has the ability to help so many people, with one selfless act. I am so grateful to so many people I will never meet.”

Joe is doing great, leading a full life, and thankful for the many blood donors who helped him during his recovery. “Those people saved my life. I want all blood donors to know that what they do does make a difference in patients’ and families’ lives. 100%. They are heroes.”

Mar 20, 2017 · A Donor’s Story: Colton Receives Life-Saving Donations in Blood Donor Program


Within weeks of birth, tiny Colton had a very distinct yellow color in his eyes, and after further evaluation—and his first surgery at six weeks—was diagnosed with a liver condition called biliary atresia. A procedure to open his bile ducts was performed to create better flow within the liver, but it was unsuccessful.

At three months, Colton was placed on a liver transplant list, and seven months later, a liver was available. The morning of July 15, 1995, Colton became the seventh child to receive a liver transplant at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

“It was such an emotional situation,” says Colton’s mom Kristen, “that, unfortunately, another family had to experience a tragedy—but in that tragedy, another person gave our son life.”

Almost immediately after the transplant, the white in Colton’s eyes returned, and he was on a fast track to recovery. Two blood transfusions were performed during the transplant and one post-transplant. The family remains grateful for the generosity of donors who made the blood products available when Colton was in need.

Colton’s family and Andrew’s family (the donor family) have remained close since the transplant and correspond regularly. Colton, now 21, is attending college at the University of Minnesota–Duluth and plays baseball for the Bulldogs.

Want to help people like Colton? Schedule an appointment to donate blood in Rochester today by calling (507) 284-4475.


Feb 27, 2017 · A Donor's Story: Dan in Blood Donor Program


Since moving to Rochester eleven years ago, Dan has found many opportunities to give back to the community. He has volunteered as a hospitality service person, offering snacks and hand massages to sick patients, and donated whole blood on a regular basis.

Dan has been a loyal blood donor since the age of 18. “I first started donating when my place of employment held a blood drive and encouraged its employees to step away from their desks to donate blood. A mere one hour of my time may save multiple lives; that’s a great feeling,” says Dan, as he proudly displays his four-gallon pin and calls it his “badge of honor.”

Helping others has become part of Dan’s lifestyle. He volunteers as the chairman of the Rochester Downtown Alliance, Rochester Area Builders’ marketing chair, a SCORE mentor, and leads the Chamber of Commerce Diverse Interest Roundtable. Donating blood is one easy way to help those in need and be a part of a community of others with the same mission.

“It’s a great way to give back and connect with other donors,” Dan continues, “It’s a wonderful humanitarian thing to do.”


Dec 14, 2016 · The Season of Giving in Blood Donor Program


The Rochester Alternative Learning Center (RALC) and the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center joined forces yesterday to meet the needs of patients and families alike. The RALC hosted their second annual blood drive to support patients who need blood products during this busy time of the year. As a thank you, the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center brought presents for the student donors at RALC as a “holiday gift.”

“It’s really great to see young people actively engaged in blood donation,” says Kim Schmidt a blood donation recruiter at Mayo Clinic. “Giving back to those who give blood for our patients is the least we can do to brighten their holiday spirit”.

To watch the “Blood Drive Surprise” segment on KTTC, click here.

Blood products are always in need. Here’s how you can give this holiday season:
• Call the Blood Donor Center in Rochester at (77)4-4475 (Hilton Building) or (77)5-4359 (Joseph Building).
• Email donateblood@mayo.edu.


Oct 10, 2016 · Janet Koball: First-Time Donor Uses Tragedy to Help Others in Blood Donor Program


Janet Koball, Quality Assurance Specialist at Mayo Clinic, completed her goal of donating blood for the first time and is taking her accomplishment to heart when it comes to fulfilling other goals she has set for her life.

Koball has always had “donate blood” on her to-do list because she knows how important it is to help others. “It’s been on the back burner, and then one day, the mobile blood drive advertised that it was coming to my work location,” says Koball. She reached out to the Blood Donor Center to help answer her questions and ensure that she was okay to donate. The rest is history.

Many of us set New Year’s resolutions, but Janet Koball has always felt that resolutions go unaccomplished and sometimes leave people with a feeling of failure. She set a goal to do whatever she could to help those around her achieve their personal resolutions—and blood donation was the first step.

Turning Tragedy into Opportunity
Koball, unfortunately, became a widow at a very young age and was amazed by the outpouring of support that friends and family bestowed upon her. The feeling of support that she felt from everyone around her instilled a feeling in her to help others and repay that support in any way possible.

“I have a rare blood type and knew that I needed to use my unique situation to help those who may need my help,” says Koball. “When I heard that the mobile blood drive was coming right to my work area, I felt like it sealed the deal for me. I knew I needed to do my part and donate.”

She went in thinking her blood pressure would be too high and she would not be able to donate, but her preconceived notions proved wrong when the technician giving her a mini-physical said she was good to go. The amazing cookies were a perfect ending to her blood donation that day.

“Meeting my goal of donating blood set fire for me to create new goals,” Koball said. “I have set two new goals this year: 1. Find other ways to help those in need, and 2. Do more for myself—because if I am happy and healthy, I can more easily help those around me.”

Koball is a great example of someone who has turned a tragedy into an opportunity to help others. She admits that helping friends, family, and strangers is a way to lift up her spirit as well.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass . . . . It’s about learning to dance in the rain” is a quote from novelist Vivian Greene that Koball references often. She is the proud mother to four children, six grandchildren, and two more grandchildren on the way. “I want the blood I donate to be available for my family—or total strangers—if they are in a situation where they need it. If I can help other families that may be experiencing a traumatic situation in life, I am happy to do so,” she says.

“Each morning when I get out of bed, I focus on what I have, not on what I don’t have,” Koball says. “I have the ability to help in many ways—one of which is donating blood.”

Sep 1, 2016 · Joshua Rhoades: Donating on Faith in Blood Donor Program


Joshua Rhoades, MT(ASCP), Clinical Laboratory Technologist in the Infectious Diseases Serology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has been donating blood for more than 10 years.

Rhoades enjoys the convenience of the mobile blood drives at the Superior Drive Support Center where he works. The mobile drives allow him to get away from the busy, day-to-day work in the labs, donate blood, have a cookie and juice, and then return to work. In his interview, Rhoades acknowledged his appreciation of the hard-working staff at the mobile blood drives because of his previous experience as a medical technician.

Comradery at Blood Drives

Rhoades enjoys the connection that blood donation offers between the staff and the “regulars” whom he encounters during his donation appointments. “It’s fun to see the same faces when I go in for my donations,” Rhoades says. “It is something that makes you slow down and think about the small things in life that we can do to help others.”

Change Fear into Faith

When asked what recommendations he has for those who might be hesitant to donate because of a fear of needles, Rhoades provided an inspirational response: “Maybe the small victory of overcoming the fear of needles will be the first step to overcome other obstacles in a person’s life.


Rhoades adds that he is grateful to be healthy and able to donate, and he encourages those who cannot donate to go along and support someone who can or find other ways to volunteer.

For more information about donating blood in Olmsted County in Rochester, Minnesota, call (507) 284-4475 or email donateblood@mayo.edu. For more information about the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/donateblood.