The Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program is happy to announce our first donor who has reached 400 donations, Mark Korinek. Words will never be enough to thank him for his selfless donations as well as his loyalty to our Blood Donor Center. He has saved countless lives over the course of his donation history. In corresponding with Mark, he shared his blood donation story with us.
400 donations, 50 gallons, 59 years old and 36 years as a Mayo Clinic blood donor. As I age – numbers just become ways to define my life. This recognition of 50 gallons is no different in some ways, but these numbers do not do justice to what reaching this milestone really represents. What those numbers should point to are the countless lives impacted by what I and so many other faithful donors do regularly… GIVE.
My reasons for giving have changed over the years. From an overactive teenager donating to get out of basketball practice, to witnessing my father battle cancer and his need of blood units during chemotherapy, to being asked to donate when a patient responds to your specific blood type and makeup, to a friend’s son whose blood disorder required him to need over 50 units of blood over 8 years to stay alive long enough for a drug to be developed to save his life. Regardless of the reason, the key word GIVE allows others to LIVE.
I work in a research lab and have no patient contact. Mayo is an institution that is known for saving lives. While our research may help patients indirectly, I have never been called on to save a life. Medical staff, police, firefighters, military personal and a select group are called on to save lives on a daily basis. I am not in that select group, but I can make a difference.
I have often read the Bible verse in John 15:13 that says: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for another." That is an inspiring statement that challenges me; and begs the question - Could I do that if called upon? But - in a small way – I can apply this verse to my life with a small alteration of the text, so it reads: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down once for the life of another." By taking time out of my day and laying down and donating a unit of whole blood or platelets, I am fulfilling that love – in most cases to someone I do not know and will never know.
That is the impact of the Mayo Blood Donor Program and that is the impact that each of us donors make in the lives of people in need – truly a life and death need. With the support of the amazing and skilled donor staff, I am humbled to reach this milestone and continue on.
We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Mark for his outstanding milestone donation, and for sharing his gracious story to inspire others to follow in his footsteps.