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Carrying on Altruistic Tradition through Blood Donation

For some people, the act of giving blood isn’t necessarily terrifying, yet it remains just daunting enough that they need a slight nudge to actually donate the liquid of life. Such was the case with blood donor Naomi Lovell, Call Center Supervisor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology (DLMP) in Rochester.

“My husband donates, especially because he has a blood type that’s considered ‘universal’ (type O negative)—they call it the ‘golden blood’ because anyone can use it,” says Lovell. “He would always encourage me to at least try it one time. So about two years ago, I decided to do it, and ever since then, I’ve continued to donate.”

Lovell, a native of Rochester, comes from an altruistic lineage that can be traced back three generations. “My mom worked at Mayo Clinic, and my grandma worked at medical facilities,” says Lovell, whose husband also works at Mayo. “And so, growing up in Rochester, I always knew that I wanted to work at Mayo.”

Breaking away from Busyness
To make it much more convenient, the Blood Donor Program’s mobile blood drive comes to Lovell’s building, the Superior Drive Support Center (SDSC), and it sets up in a corner of the building once a month. Donors can give via appointment or as walk-ins.

“Being a supervisor, I typically donate as a ‘walk-in,’ just because I’m never sure how my day will go,” says Lovell. As a manager, she gets an email notice ahead of time from the Blood Donor Center as to when the mobile drive will be at her location. “I forward the email out to our group and encourage everyone to give blood if they can.”

Lovell finds that some in her group need that gentle nudge in order to donate. “They ask me what it’s like, so I’ll walk them through it,” she says. “Sometimes, I’ll even invite them to come with me as added encouragement. I always encourage them to try it at least one time, just like my husband encouraged me.”

For shy givers, a privacy panel can be put up during donation. And donors are never left alone; they are closely watched and conversed with by nurses. The whole process takes about 30 to 45 minutes, after which juices and cookies abound. Warning: Once you donate, the good feeling from doing so just might call you back again. At least that’s what happened with Lovell, reinforced by an email of thanks from the Blood Donor Program staff.

“To receive that email saying that I actually helped a patient makes me feel really good,” she says. “I think that positive reinforcement, and knowing that my blood directly helps someone or several people, is why I continue to donate.”

How to Donate
For more information about donating blood in Olmsted County in Rochester, Minnesota, call (507) 284-4475 or email donateblood@mayo.edu. 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.

Gina Chiri-Osmond

Gina Chiri-Osmond

Gina Chiri-Osmond is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories.