Fairborn donor Beth Player is a “Johnny Appleseed” of blood donations. Her blood type is O negative and she was inspired to become a donor by her father, also a “Universal Donor.” Beth and her husband Dave have traveled the country during his U.S. Air Force career, donating together in various states. She made her milestone 100th lifetime donation with Community Blood Center on June 29 at the Dayton Donor Center.
“I started donating in Wilmington, Delaware,” said Beth. “My father was a donor and I decided I would do this. Every time we moved we found another place to donate.”
“My dad is an O negative,” she said. “He would always say, ‘They need, they need, they need.’ It’s a short time out of the day. It’s an easy donation.”
Beth is both an O negative donor, the universal donor for all patients in need, and a CMV-negative “baby donor.” CMC negative means he has not been exposed to the common cytomegalovirus. Hospitals prefer CMV-negative units for children and to ensure safe transfusions to newborns.
“We moved here in 1978,” she said. “I was probably around 79 or 80 donations. I found out when I came here I’m CMV-negative. I would know if needed it was going to a baby or a child.”
Beth worked most recently as a health department educator. She and Dave are now both retired. They have two children and 10 grandchildren ranging in age from 13 to two.
They donate together at mobile blood drives in the Fairborn area and at the Dayton CBC. Dave, an O positive donor, made his 124th lifetime donation with CBC when Beth made her 100th. Their “Johnny Appleseed” journey of helping others continues.
Kettering donor Mark Reitz is a retired Wright Patterson Air Force Base propulsion engineer who enjoys woodworking, bicycling, babysitting his grandchildren, and being a dedicated “Donor for Life.” With his regular appointment to give platelets on Friday, July 7 at the Dayton CBC Mark celebrated his milestone 400th lifetime blood donation.
It was Mark’s style to reach his milestone by making sure to keep his appointment despite the distractions of the July 4th holiday week. CBC staff members thanked Mark and helped him celebrate his milestone with a party in the Donor Café featuring cupcakes forming the number “400.”
Mark started donating whole blood in 1981 when the CBC Bloodmobile would visit Wright Patt.
He began donating platelets in 2000, but continued to also alternate with whole blood donations. He has been donating platelets and plasma exclusively since 2013 and reached his milestone 300th LTD milestone in early 2014. He said at the time, “I retired after 36 years as a civilian engineer working in the Propulsion Lab. I have more time to donate, so now I try to come down once a week.”
Mark has continued to keep his dedicated pace as a Donor for Life, and now that has brought him to his 400 donation milestone. “Once a week might cause dedicated donors to ask how he does that,” he said, “but it does average out to coming down once in every two weeks or less, about 30 times a year.”
Mark believes in giving back to the community, especially in times of need. He made three trips to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina with a busload of volunteers from several Lutheran church groups to help rebuilt homes. His final trip was with Habitat for Humanity.
“Since retiring, I have been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Dayton with a group called the “Golden Hammers” for the past three years,” he said. “We do volunteer work every Wednesday for them.”