DAYTON, Ohio – It has not been the best year for Dayton donor Betty Rabold. She still smiles easily, especially while receiving congratulations on her 300th lifetime donation Friday, April 5 at the Dayton Community Blood Center (CBC). But it’s a milestone on her long journey of helping others that she won’t be able to share with her late husband Karl.
April 28th will mark one year since Karl died of a heart attack, two days after his 64th birthday. The owner of a photography business, Karl was found slumped behind the wheel of his parked car. Betty said they had recently returned from an early birthday celebration visit with their son and his family in New Mexico and Karl had seemed to be in good health.
Betty’s family had drawn closer since Karl’s death. She has a son living at home and both daughters have lived home at times. Her 11-year-old granddaughter fell while roller skating a couple of days before Christmas and suffered a spiral leg fracture. Betty was needed as her granddaughter spent Christmas vacation hobbling on crutches with a cast from ankle to hip.
There are many others, young and old, who depend on Betty as well. She has been a school bus driver for the Jefferson Township school district for 23 years, and her granddaughter is one of her daily passengers.
She’s also a driver for the elderly residents of 10 Wilmington Place who are independent and can still take field trips. With school out for spring break, Betty offered to take a group to the new Horseshoe Cincinnati Casino Wednesday afternoon. One of her group members needed extra help, which Betty provided. That kept Betty away from the games of chance, and under her budget. “I didn’t do what I planned,” she said. “But that was O.K. because it probably saved me about $50!”
Betty laughs off her limited experience with Casino visits and points to her parents as examples of Casino veterans. “My mom and dad have been around and have collected Casino cards from across the U.S. They like to play video poker machines, and they can tell you which ones are more about skill. They keep going!”
Betty keeps going too – driving her passengers, looking after her family – and donating. “I first donated whole blood at a mobile drive in 1975,” she said of her journey to 300 LTD. “It came to where I worked at Metropolitan Life Insurance. I switched to platelets in 1991.”
As an O-negative donor, she’s used to being reminded about giving. “I’ve always tried to come about once a month,” she said. “Even with four kids!”
Family vacations are often camping trips and last summer they traveled to Canada. This summer it will probably be just Betty and her granddaughter traveling to a regional camping event in Iowa. Mixed in will be her monthly apheresis donations.
“I don’t have a lot of money to donate to different people,” she said. “So this is a good thing that I can do, and I keep on coming back.”