Donating Blood: A Family Affair


For Alissa Spitzer, Education Development Assistant at Mayo Medical Laboratories in Rochester, donating blood is a family affair. Spitzer’s mother Diane Todd, a retired ostomy nurse at Saint Marys Hospital, has been donating blood her entire life, and Spitzer’s grandmother Irma was also a lifelong blood donor.

“When I was a kid, I remember my mom going into work early or coming home late—just so she could donate blood that day,” says Spitzer. “Giving blood was just something that was always around in my family. When you donate, that one unit of blood may save multiple lives.”

Donor, Recruiter, and Inspirational Mom
Spitzer has donated more than two gallons of blood at the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center in Rochester—no small feat. She enjoys the convenience of being able to donate at the mobile blood drives, mainly the Superior Drive Support Center location where she works. During her most recent donation, Spitzer also convinced three colleagues to donate, including a first-time donor.

When asked what inspires her to reach out to others to donate, she responds, “It is my hope that from inviting others to consider it, we can reach multiple individuals who can then recruit one or two more people, and then it just spreads. Blood cannot be manufactured, so it is truly up to us to help those in need.”

Spitzer is carrying on the family tradition by inspiring those in her own home. Her 14-year-old daughter Lily wants to become a blood donor herself once she is old enough (in Minnesota, she may donate at 16 with parental approval), which will make four generations of blood donors in their family.

For more information about donating blood in Olmsted County in Rochester, Minnesota, call (507) 284-4475 or email For more information about the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center, visit

Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her kitty, and exploring new foods.