Employee & Community Health

Blood donation: Pints for Preemies challenge is back!

10/3/2019 by Katy Maeder, Donor Services

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Looking at baby Ayden, you'd never know the uphill battles he's already faced in his short life. Now a little over a year old, he's a happy, smiley baby who enjoys playing with his older brother. 

Ayden was born at only 23 weeks gestation, weighing just 1 pound 11 ounces. Immediately after his birth, he was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Mayo Clinic Hospital - Rochester, Saint Marys Campus. Born with a small hole in his heart, Ayden was given ibuprofen to help repair it. 

"He had all sorts of lines, wires and tubes coming out of him. It was surreal seeing such a tiny person have so much attached to his body," recalls his mother, Nicole. "It was a journey we never saw coming."

AydenHospitalResizedWhen one of his nasogastric tubes rubbed a tear in his gastric lining, he began to lose blood. In order to replenish what was lost and to help him gain strength, Ayden was given six blood transfusions. After 112 days in the NICU, Ayden was able to go home and start growing to be a happy, healthy baby. The only major side effect is that he now needs glasses due to the effects of an eye disease he had as a premature baby. Otherwise, you'd never know he was a micro preemie. 

Ayden's family saw first-hand the importance that blood products play in helping premature babies. In honor of World Prematurity Day, the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program will be hosting the Second Annual Pints for Preemies Blood Donation Challenge. Our goal for this year is simple — to bring in more lifesaving blood donations and raise awareness of World Prematurity Day on November 17. 

The challenge is running September 1 through November 17. To participate, simply stop in at the front desk at one of our two locations and fill out a challenge sheet. 

  • Hilton Building, first floor, Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 507-284-4475
  • Saint Marys Campus - Joseph Building, main floor, Room M-86, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., 507-255-4359

How to donate

For more information about donating blood or how to set up a blood drive in Olmsted County, call 507-284-4475, email donateblood@mayo.edu, or visit the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program web page.