UPDATE - Recent changes to donor eligibility criteria will permit donations by many donors previously deferred due to exposure Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (vCJD or Mad Cow Disease). Questions about this change? Please fill out the deferral/eligibility inquiry form.

Click here for our response to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) including information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on blood donation being permitted during Stay at Home directives. Click here for care provider and self-referrals for convalescent plasma donors for those that had a positive molecular test (also called PCR or polymerase chain reaction) and are fully recovered from COVID-19.  Email or call 833-610-1025 with questions.

Ronna's Story

I have been a blood donor since 1983, when I became a ‘Youngblood’ at Illinois State University. It was a natural thing to do, since my mother had been giving for as long as I can remember. When I became a teacher and a  student council advisor, I was glad to be able to introduce young people to giving through school blood drives in Beloit, Wisconsin.

In 1999, we had our first daughter, Laurel (pictured, on left). Very soon after (or it seemed so – 2001), when we were six months along expecting our second daughter, Annika, I found a lump and was diagnosed with breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ). I had two lumpectomies after she was born (always looking for clean margins) and then 30 sessions of radiation. The next year, when our girls were 1 ½ and 3 years old, I was told my cancer had recurred. I had more procedures in an attempt to ‘get it all,’ ultimately having a mastectomy, ronnaand then subsequent attempts at reconstruction. After a total of eight surgeries – and countless pints of blood (thank you donors!) – I have been cancer-free for over 10 years. Now I am happy to be back donating blood regularly with the blood center. 

Knowing the vital work the blood center does, I was thrilled last year when Laurel, then a freshman, decided to join the blood drive committee at her high school. She knows firsthand from all of my experiences what a generous, selfless gift blood donors provide. I have no doubt that as soon as she turns 16, she will be joining the family tradition of giving … though we’ll probably have to hold her hand!