Need for blood sparks career at Mayo Clinic
After experiencing chronic pain in her knee, Valerie Kimball finally decided it was time to get things checked out by her family doctor. A few tests and X-rays revealed that she had a form of osteosarcoma, a diagnosis that came on her 16th birthday. Her family was distraught over her diagnosis, but Valerie remembers feeling "16 and invincible." Valerie's treatment plan required chemotherapy, numerous blood transfusions, as well as a knee and partial femur replacement.
Although Valerie lives with minor complications, she has been in remission for more than 20 years. And her story has come full circle. She's now a nurse in Hematology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, working with a team that gives blood transfusions to patients receiving chemotherapy. Valerie says this career path seemed like a natural fit, following in the footsteps of so many health care professionals who had touched her life. One of her fondest memories from her medical journey is of her favorite nurse who went above and beyond to put a smile on Valerie's face, including sneaking in soda with a licorice straw. Looking back, it was this nurse who sparked Valerie's interest in her chosen career.
When asked what she might say to a blood donor, Valerie's answer is simple, "THANK YOU." She added that the patients she sees face so many challenges through their treatments. Having blood products on hand to administer is one less thing for her, as a nurse, to worry about. As a patient, she also extends her gratitude for those who contributed to her medical recovery.
If you would like to donate blood to help patients in the community, like Valerie, call the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program at 507-284-4475 or contact the program via email. Scheduling an appointment to donate blood is easy and helps to ensure that blood is available for a loved one or other patients in need. Be sure to watch for incentives by visiting the Blood Donor Program blog, the Minnesota Blood Donor Program website or Facebook page.
Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Centers:
Hilton Building, First Floor
Monday — Friday, 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Open until 7 p.m. every second Thursday of the month
Saint Marys Campus
Joseph Building, Main Floor M-86
Monday — Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.