It’s been about 45 years since Dottie Bowman’s kid sister Barb grabbed her by the arm and dragged her downtown to make her first blood donation. Dottie felt like a young girl again – letting out a shout of glee – when she cleared screening and knew she could make her milestone 150th lifetime donation Monday, March 6 at the St. Helen Parish blood drive.
Dottie is not only a loyal donor. She’s also a loyal supporter of the Community Blood Center and the Germantown Senior Citizen Center blood drive near her home in Miamisburg. But in December, and again on March 1, she narrowly missed reaching her milestone because of low hemoglobin. Monday marked a special visit with her husband Tom to the blood drive at St. Henry, and her joy came from both success and relief.
“Yea – it feels good!” she said. It won’t be long before Tom and Dottie will head north to their cabin in Michigan for the summer and she didn’t want to leave home with her milestone unachieved. “I’ll probably brag a little bit,” she admitted with a smile.
Tom and Dottie celebrated their 50th anniversary in December. They have three sons and seven grandchildren. “Our kids took us out to eat and gave us flowers and all,” she said. “It was very nice.”
She had hoped to celebrate the Christmas season with her 150th donation. “Just because it’s a nice round number,” she said at the time. “I saw it on the paper and said I’m getting close.”
When Dottie couldn’t reach her milestone in December she decided she would wait and try again at the Germantown Senior Citizen Center blood drive on March 1. Tom donated routinely, but Dottie was again disappointed by a hemoglobin deferral. Tom is retired from the Air Force and both he and Dottie have made numerous blood donations in other states as they moved from base to base during Tom’s active duty years.
“We moved all over to different bases and I would give when they had a blood drive,” she said. How many prior donations is only a guess, but she was intent on reaching 150 donations with CBC.
Ironically, Dottie made her first lifetime donation with CBC during a visit to Dayton while living at the now decommissioned Chanute Air Force base near Champaign, Illinois. Dottie was a young mother of two. Her sister Barb, five years her junior, was already a blood donor.
“She dragged me downtown when (CBC) was in the Fidelity Building,” she said. “I was 24 or 25 – it was a long time ago. That was my first time. It wasn’t so bad. She was my inspiration! She had been going and said, ‘You’ve got to go with me!’ We were in the middle of moving from Chanute to Wright Patterson Air Force Base.” It was the beginning of a happy life in the Miami Valley.
After her 150th donation it was time for dinner. Dottie suggested a sandwich or a hamburger, but Tom said fast food was no way to celebrate. Nothing less than a nice restaurant would do for a 150 LTD Donor for Life!