The Drive to Donate Blood

john-simonetteFifteen years ago, while working at IBM, John Simonette walked by a Mayo Clinic mobile blood drive on the IBM campus in Rochester and thought, “Hey, why not?” A few years later, he transitioned to a role at Mayo Clinic and has been a dedicated blood donor ever since. Now a Senior Workstation Specialist (a.k.a., computer technician), Simonette has donated 98 times, which is 11 gallons of blood that may have impacted the lives of more than 294 people.

“Giving blood is addicting,” says Simonette. “It’s not the cookies or free T-shirts that keep me coming back—although I never say ‘No’ to a good cookie. It’s the sense of contributing and helping others that truly makes me feel like I am making a difference.”

A Rare Type

Besides being an active blood donor, Simonette also has a rare blood type, AB positive, which only includes 3.4% of the general population. His blood type is beneficial for people needing plasma and platelets since it is universal and can be used for all patients regardless of their blood types.
Simonette says, “There is always a need for blood. I try to donate as often as I can, especially when there is an urgent need for my blood type.”

Make Time for Blood Donations

Simonette encourages his children as well as other family and friends to donate—no matter how busy their lives may be. When he isn’t focused on reaching his 100thdonation, Simonette loves to ride his motorcycle, a 1992 Yamaha TDM850, or drive his black ’68 Cadillac.

“I always think of donating blood like changing the oil in your car,” he says. “It’s good for your body and keeps it running smoothly.”

Contributing to Mayo Clinic

Having worked at the Superior Drive Support Center for more than 10 years, Simonette enjoys the convenience of the mobile blood drives and the friendliness of the blood donor staff.

“Donating blood is my contribution to Mayo Clinic,” he says. “The Blood Donor Center needs an ongoing supply of blood product to support our patients. Sometimes, the center has to purchase additional blood from the American Red Cross. If my donations can in some way keep our ‘shelves stocked’ and benefit patients, then I’m happy to donate as often as I can.”

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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/donateblood or like the center on Facebook.

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Kelley Schreiber

Kelley Schreiber is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical 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 new kitten, and exploring new foods.