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Bethel & Len Anderson

Bethel Anderson and her late husband Len have spent decades advocating for blood donation. We at Memorial Blood Centers are honored to have worked with Bethel as a Blood Drive Coordinator in Cloquet for more than 17 years, as well as with Len, who was a recipient of many blood transfusions. Bethel has coordinated and contributed to dozens of blood drives over the years, generously volunteering hours of her time and energy recruiting donors and organizing these events. Together, Bethel and Len have helped collect hundreds of units for local hospital patients who need transfusions.

At one point, Len himself depended on hundreds of blood transfusions to survive. He battled a rare disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome in which his bone marrow did not produce platelets, resulting in blood that would not clot. When he retired from teaching, Len continued to speak to high school students about the importance of donating blood, and volunteered with Memorial Blood Centers to share his story and inspire others.

Since Len passed away, Bethel has continued to help coordinate several blood drives every year. As the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the blood supply, Memorial Blood Centers invited people from the Cloquet area to one central blood drive at Cloquet Middle School in June 2020, to replenish low supplies. Michele from MBC asked Bethel for help with calling donors and asking them to donate at the drive, something that Bethel often does — but with 95 appointment slots this was the largest drive we ever asked her to help with! “I’ll give it my best,” said Bethel, who proceeded to call and fill all 95 appointments!

Bethel shared that Len’s 80th birthday would have been in 2020. With 73 donations collected at the Cloquet Community Drive, we think this is a great way to honor Len. Bethel also shared that she has been thankful to stay involved as a volunteer with MBC, as she isn’t able to get out as much lately and our mission has meant so much to her family.

Thank you, Bethel, for your unwavering dedication to our life-saving mission. As Len said before he passed, “When I speak to people about donating blood or bone marrow, I tell them: I’ve been able to do things with my ten grandchildren who would have never known me if it wasn’t for blood donors. This is not frivolous. When have you done something recently in which you saved lives? That’s something incredibly special.”