In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

October 3, 2019

‘Pints for Preemies’ Challenge Returns to Deliver More Life-Saving Blood Donations

By In the Loop

The goal of the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program's upcoming campaign, Pints for Preemies, is to adequately supply Mayo Clinic with enough blood for its newest and tiniest patients.


Members of the Rochester police and fire departments and Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service squared off last month in a high-stakes, winner-takes-all Battle of the Badges blood donation competition to see who could bring in the most donations to Mayo Clinic's Blood Donor Program in Rochester. And as KIMT 3 News reports, Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service took home this year's crown "with more than 200 donations for their team."

Despite the success of this campaign and others like it, the need for blood donation at Mayo Clinic's Blood Donor Program remains high, if not constant. Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program Medical Director Justin Kreuter, M.D., tells KIMT the Mayo program alone needs an average of "100 donors a day to keep a minimum, safe amount of blood inventory for patients" to compensate for the short shelf-life of whole blood donations and the sudden shortages that result from trauma incidents or hospital patients requiring more blood than expected.

The goal of the program's latest campaign, the second annual Pints for Preemies, is to adequately supply Mayo Clinic with enough blood for premature babies, who often need blood transfusions within their first days of life.

Babies like Ayden Middleswart. 

Ayden was born at just 23 weeks gestation and weighing only 1 pound, 11 ounces, Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Services Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator Katy Maeder writes on Mayo Clinic Connect. Immediately after his birth, Ayden was whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the Saint Marys Campus of Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, where doctors discovered Ayden had also been born with a hole in his heart. "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," Ayden's mom, Nicole Middleswart, tells Maeder. "It was a journey we never saw coming."

The family's journey unfortunately took a sharp turn downhill after one of Ayden's "nasogastric tubes rubbed a tear in his gastric lining," causing him to lose a life-threatening amount of blood. To counteract this, Ayden's care team at Mayo Clinic relied on the inventory of donated blood to give him a total of six blood transfusions on their way to nursing him back to health.

Ayden was discharged from Mayo Clinic 112 days later and sent home. He's now a happy and healthy baby. He does require glasses because of an eye disease he was born with. "Otherwise," Maeder writes, "you would never know that he was a micro preemie."

You can have a direct hand in making sure other premature babies at Mayo Clinic have similar outcomes by participating in this year's Pints for Preemies campaign, which runs through Nov. 17. To donate, simply stop at the front desk at one of the following locations in Rochester and fill out a challenge sheet (and be sure to tell them we sent you): Hilton Building, first floor, Monday–Friday, 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 507-284-447; Saint Marys Campus-Joseph Building, main floor, Room M-86, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., 507-255-4359.

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Tags: blood transfusion, Community, Dr Justin Kreuter, Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service, Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center, Mayo Clinic Connect, Practice story

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