It’s been a summer of celebration for Community Blood Center’s top female donor Katie Ellis. She reached her 400th lifetime donation milestone, was honored at a Dayton Dragons baseball game as a “Community All-Star” and appeared on WDTN-TV’s “Living Dayton” lifestyle and news magazine show to talk about her passion for helping others by giving blood.
Katie may be retired from nursing, raising kids, and coaching softball and soccer during stints at Chaminade-Julienne and Alter High Schools, but as a Donor for Life (and a “grandma for life”) she never thinks about slowing down.
She spent part of the summer at her daughter’s home in New Knoxville, OH helping her with newborn twins. (It’s the second set of twins for her daughter, and Katie also has a son with twins). She made her 403rd lifetime donation at CBC on June 24 then hurried to Fifth Third Field for a tour of the stadium and to be honored during the Dragons game as a Community All-Star.
Her Thursday, July 11 appearance on the Living Dayton show was a new experience for Katie. (You can watch her interview on CBC’s Facebook page, or go to Living Dayton’s website, http://www.wdtn.com/dpp/living_dayton/health/blood-donor-honored).
The fun began in the Living Dayton “Diamond Room” where guests wait before going to the studio for their interview segment. A live camera in the Diamond Room shows the guest when the hosts talk about who will be “coming up next” on the show. Katie was asked to wave and smile to the camera… which she did expertly for what seemed like a very long time with a very frozen grin!
Waiting in the wings of the studio for her interview, she chatted with fellow guest Dan Young, who was on the show to talk about the 10th Annual Young’s Jersey Dairy Bike Tour, coming up July 20-21. Last year’s tour raised more than $90,000 for four local charities.
Vanessa introduced Katie as a woman “who gives a whole new meaning to community service.” Katie was dressed casually in a shorts and a top. With her dark tan and freckles, it’s obvious she enjoys being outside and active during the summer. He schedule includes at least two regular rounds of golf per week, plus working in her golf course pro shop.
An important part of her busy schedule, as Katie informs Vanessa, will be her 404th lifetime donation next Tuesday, July 16. Vanessa’s first question to Katie is how she got started donating. “My mom started donating blood when we were young kids – and I’m one of nine kids – so I said ‘I’m going to do it,’” Katie explained.
Her lifetime donation record is an impressive body of work, and remains a work in progress. But she described it in simple terms. “It’s just helping people,” she said. “What? An hour out of your time? I just want to be able to help people.”
As a platelet donor she feels a special dedication to helping cancer patients, accident victims and other transfusion patients with special needs. “My niece and nephew are both transplant patients,” she said. “I want to give back. Someone else gave to them, I want to give back. I just enjoy doing it, and it’s just an hour of my time.”
An important message in the interview, especially to the Living Dayton show’s strong female audience, is how Katie stays active and healthy in retirement. Part of being a blood donor is being very aware of her physical health and taking care of her body.
“I walk every day with friends,” she said. “We call ourselves the ‘Streetwalkers’! Plus I have 10 grandkids, so I’m busy all the time.”
Yes, Katie Ellis is busy, but never too busy to give blood. It’s why she’s a Donor for Life and a very proud ambassador for CBC and the worthy cause of saving lives through blood donations.