Harriett Dennis misses the convenience of donating platelets at the former CBC Middletown branch. The cozy little donor center wasn’t far from AK Steel where she built an incredible 51-year career working in accounting. But her first apheresis donation nearly 20 years ago was at the Dayton CBC, and she returned there Oct. 28 to make her milestone 200th lifetime blood donation.
Harriett is a true “Donor for Life,” but that’s not all that has remained unchanged in her life. For one, she never had to think about changing from her maiden name.
“I was a Dennis before I was even married,” Harriett laughed. Harriett Dennis met her husband Roger Dennis with an introduction arranged by her sister. “My great-grandfather and his grandfather were first cousins from Kentucky.” They were married in 1962, raised a son and daughter and now have four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Harriett went to work for Armco (later to become AK Steel) in 1965, stayed home after the birth of her son. “I was called back in 1967 and I was there all that time,” she said of her 51 years.
Harriett forged her “Donor for Life” dedication by supporting CBC blood drives at the steel company. “They would really push for donors,” she said. “The union vice president was in charge of it, and all the departments would compete. It really energized people.”
She also decided that giving blood was a great way to overcome a fear. “I was always afraid of needles,” she laughed. “I thought maybe this will help me conquer my fear of needles!”
She later became a member of a CBC “LifeLeaders” team for AK Steel. She got interested in apheresis donations after hearing donors speak about it at the annual CBC LifeLeaders banquet. “I signed up to do it,” she said, “and I also registered to be a bone marrow donor.”
After many loyal years of donating apheresis in Middletown she is renewing efforts to donate at the Dayton CBC. “I’m used to it,” she said of her 200 donation history. “That’s a big part of it. I like to do it.”