Blood Donation: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The holiday season is a busy time for many people, but Denise Rokke, Quality Specialist in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, always insists on making time for others, including finding time to donate blood.

“We must do everything we can to give to those in need, especially during busy times,” says Rokke. “Giving blood is such a simple thing that I can do for those in need. Blood products cannot be manufactured, so people rely on us to make the difference.”

Overcoming the Obstacles
Rokke has been a blood donor at the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center in Rochester since she first started her career at Mayo—more than 32 years ago! She says, “Mayo makes it so easy to donate. It’s not a big deal to step away from work for an hour to give blood if your work unit will function just fine while you’re away. And staff can always donate before or after their scheduled work hours; it takes less than an hour of their time.”

As positive as Rokke is about blood donation, it hasn’t always been an easy task for her to give blood due to her small veins. “I bruise easily, my veins have infiltrated, and I’ve had to take extra time because of a slow draw, but none of these are permanent injuries,” she says. “Despite all these things, it doesn’t stop me from donating. Yes, it can be frustrating, but I keep coming back, time after time, because the benefit to others outweighs these small inconveniences for me. My blood donation may be saving multiple patients’ lives.”

Rokke adds, “Even though it can be difficult for me to donate at times, the Blood Donor Center technicians are really awesome. They work with me to make sure that I am comfortable and understand what is going on during my donation. It makes a big difference.”

How to Donate

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 the Blood Donor Center blog, the Blood Donor Center website, and/or like the center on Facebook.

Alyssa Frank (@alyssafrank)

Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She leads marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Alyssa has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2015.