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Being a father to two boys, a business owner selling safety valves across the country and a youth baseball coach for the Southeastern Cal Ripken League, Dino Mevoli doesn’t have a lot of free time on his hands.
And yet, in late December 2022, when Lexington was hit with wintry weather that prevented him from making his bi-weekly platelet donation at the Andover Donor Center, he was driving to the Somerset Donor Center – nearly an hour and a half away – to keep his lifesaving commitment.
“When I looked on the schedule, I saw Somerset was available,” Dino said. “Driving doesn’t bother me, to be honest. Sometimes it’s good because I can just make phone calls while I’m driving and get back to people and get that part of it done for my work. I figured, I will just hop in my truck and drive out there.”
One and a half hours there. Two hours for the donation. Another hour and a half back to Lexington. For someone who doesn’t have a lot of free time, Dino was making the extra effort to donate platelets.
Coaching Colson Somervill, a 9-year-old baseball player with a health condition, sparked his desire to give a little extra effort. Colson has Von Willebrand disease, a rare blood disorder in which the blood does not clot properly.
“As I was learning about his disease, it got me thinking and gave me an opportunity to learn about other ways I could potentially help, not only coaching him – he’s a great kid – but it opened my eyes to a different world I didn’t know about,” Dino said.
With Colson on his mind, Dino started giving whole blood at one of his son’s elementary schools. When he learned platelets could directly help someone like Colson fighting Von Willebrand disease, Dino decided to move from a 45-minute whole blood donation every two months to a two-hour platelet donation every two weeks.
“Honestly, to me, it doesn’t seem like a big deal at all,” Dino said. “The hardest part for me is time, but I sit there on my phone and still answer emails and text messages.”
In the apheresis process, blood is drawn from the donor into a device that separates the blood into its component parts, retains the platelets, and returns the remainder of the blood products to the donor. A platelet donation can take up to two hours or more depending on the donor.
That hasn’t stopped Dino from coming to donate every two weeks.
“Two hours every other week, I feel like you should be able to make time to help others,” Dino said. “There should be enough time in everyone’s schedule to do it. … People, myself included, waste time doing so many other things like watching TV, Netflix. Two hours to donate shouldn’t be that hard.”
Whether it’s the young man he’s coaching with Von Willebrand disease, his own two boys or the hundreds of children he has coached over the years, Dino knows that one in four people will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lifetime. The number can be overwhelming.
“My kids don’t suffer from anything, but you never know what could happen in the future or who is in need that you don’t know about,” Dino said. “I knew one kid and one story, but I guess part of me was thinking that there are probably thousands of kids out there like him that are also dealing with it. It was something that came into my life through him that made me want to think about the bigger picture of the other ones.”
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Celebrating 55 years of saving lives in Kentucky, KBC is the largest independent, full-service, nonprofit blood center in Kentucky. Licensed by the FDA, KBC’s sole purpose is to collect, process and distribute blood for patients in Kentucky. KBC provides services in 90 Kentucky counties and has donor centers in Lexington, Louisville, Frankfort, Pikeville, Somerset and the Tri-County area.