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.