Brian Peterson: "Be a Hero, Become a Donor"

Feb. 14, 2013

First Steps to Becoming a Hero

In the summer of 2010, Brian Peterson, a member of the University of Minnesota’s Wrestling team, stumbled across a booth for the “Be a Hero, Become a Donor” campaign at the University’s annual HopeDay Festival, an event supported by the HopeKids organization. Upon registering to become a donor, Brian did not realize that his life was going to be changed by a simple swab on the inside of his cheek. He was going to become a hero by saving a life, a deed that most can only wish for. He thought, “Why not? The chances are one in a thousand that I would get chosen anyway.”

The Process

Brian Peterson, a member of the Minnesota Gophers’ Wrestling Team, the Reserve Officers Training Corps, and the Student-Athlete Advisory Executive Committee, has been depended on in high-stress, intense, and extremely important situations. He has been doing it his entire life. That is why when he got the call informing him that he is a match for peripheral blood stem cell, and that he had the chance to save a life, he agreed without hesitation. A few months later, in January, he had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC for his transplant. Brian also had to deal with some complications along the way, including the Department of Defense’s Physical appointment requirements, and dealing with an incomplete physical form. Luckily for him, the ROTC program made an exception, and Brian was able to re-take the physical test at a later time back in Minnesota. After dealing with these complications, Brian was able to successfully make it to Washington DC, where his donor recipient was located.

An Act of Selflessness

Brian was now was in the position to give his blood cells upon arriving at the hospital. The process is painful, but he never looked back. Brian continued his selflessness by completing his donor process, which was a very personal one for him. His motives go beyond himself, and he values people in the world around him. When asking Brian why he took part in his act, he stated, “I value human life. If I have the opportunity to preserve it without giving my own, I will do it. I might even given my own if it means I get to save one, and circumstances were right.”



An Inspiration to Gophers and HopeDay Festival Attendants

Since Brian’s participated in the Be a Hero, Become a Donor program, the University of Minnesota Athletic Department has been stepping up, following in his footsteps. At this past HopeDay festival in September, support dramatically increased. 110 individuals have been added to the donor list, including the entire University of Minnesota Baseball Team. Brian’s humanity has shown through his actions, and his words about staying involved in the donor process as he confirmed, “I still plan to donate blood, and to be on board with the donor program, and advocating it whenever convenient. I think that it is always a great thing to save someone’s life, especially when little of your life is at stake.“

- written by Tori Dixon


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