At a recent blood drive in Irvine, donors hoped to catch a glimpse of one person: Dottie Brown, a resident of Lemon Heights in Tustin who recently celebrated her 101st birthday — and has been donating blood for the last 70 of those.
“As I have gotten older, I’ve realized the importance of (donating blood) because so many people I have known have been in the hospital that need blood,” said Brown, who has lived in Orange County since 1946. “At my age, I can’t physically volunteer much, but this is something I can do.”
Brown, who has the much-needed Type O blood, said she doesn’t even “know the difference” after spending 30 minutes every 56 days donating blood.
“I joke about it, that if I can give a pint of blood that my body has to hurry up and start making new blood,” she said. “Making new blood will give blood to my whole body; it keeps me going.”
Travel also keeps Brown going: She spent 15 days on a Hawaiian cruise last year, visited Israel in 2021 and just before the pandemic, she was in Kenya where she helped translate the Bible into Swahili.
“I don’t stay home very much. I am on the go a lot,” she said with a laugh.
Brown, who drives around in a cream-colored Cadillac Escalade truck, said she is a part of many clubs and is active in her local church.
For her 100th birthday, she hosted 300 friends and family members for a party and took her three children, 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandkids — as well as their spouses — on a dream vacation to Mexico.
This year, for her 101st, she had a party with just family and the theme “101 Dalmatians.” Her granddaughter got her a hair clip with ears “like a Dalmatian and (a) velcro stick-on tail,” she said bellowing with laughter.
“I became a dog for the evening. I asked my son if he’s going to serve dog meat,” said Brown.
She advised the greater Orange County community to be “mindful of other people’s needs and help where you can.”
People assume you can’t donate blood after a certain age, Brown said.
“I am still healthy, and I don’t have any debilitating diseases or anything like that,” said Brown. “My blood is as good as anybody’s blood.”
The July 5 blood drive, hosted by Antis Roofing and Waterproofing in Irvine, was the 100th one the company has organized for the Red Cross of Orange County.
Thirty-nine people donated blood, resulting in a total of 111 potential lives saved, according to a spokesperson for Antis Roofing and Waterproofing. The event also featured lunch from Wahoo’s Fish Taco founder Wing Lam manning the grill and an ice cream truck from Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton.
Three years ago, the company opened 6,000 square feet of unused office space for blood drives.
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