Mark and Dave have nurtured a competitive camaraderie since connecting at a marathon in 2006. The two have since run numerous events together, including a 50-mile Zumbro Endurance Run. "Mark and I ran the 50-mile race the day after my father’s funeral," remembers Dave. "Mark had been at the funeral for me, and he helped read some of the eulogy I had prepared when it was tough for me to continue."
They run together weekly, year-round. "It’s a great time to share personal stories and encourage one another," says Dave. "We use the time to discuss life, bounce ideas off each other, and re-center our perspectives," says Mark.
Mark and Dave have other common ground: Both of their fathers had cancer, and both share a strong Christian faith—the two meet with a group of guys every other Tuesday for Bible study. And finally, both have been donating blood at Mayo’s Blood Donor Center for many years. That too, has turned into a contest. To date, both have surpassed the 300 donation mark.
Mark was first inspired to donate at the age of 16 after witnessing how the gift of blood helped his father who was going through cancer treatments. For Dave, donating honors his own father who donated 13 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross during his lifetime.
Both men have potentially impacted more than 1,000 lives by giving generously in the spirit of altruism. The "blood brothers" describe their story as one about faith, family, fitness, and friendship. "It’s just a friendly type of competition and a reminder for us of our commitment to helping others," says Dave.
To read more stories like this, visit the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program's Blog Page.