These Women Share a Passion for Donating Blood

Stephanie Grabowski of Grosse Pointe Park, Debra Harris of Detroit and Kathleen Ortez of Romulus don’t know each other. But they share a passion for donating blood.  

The dedicated donors were among the more than 170 people (including 34 first timers) who donated blood at the American Red Cross Michigan Region’s fifth annual blood drive Aug. 11 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Red Cross collected 190 total units of blood, meeting its goal for the drive.

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Thus, the need for blood is constant.

As the single largest blood supplier in the country, the Red Cross must collect enough blood every day to meet the needs of accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. When people roll up a sleeve to donate, each donation could save a life.

Stephanie, Debra and Kathleen are frequent donors, often going to drives multiple times during the year. Collectively, their donations add up to 80 years’ worth of giving.

“It’s a great way to give something of yourself to help someone who may need it,” said Stephanie, a forensic scientist with the Michigan State Police. “When my son was born, I lost a lot of blood and I almost needed a transfusion. It’s fairly painless and a great way to help.”

Debra, an administrative assistant at Wayne State University, said donating blood is her way of giving back. “It’s my way of passing along a little something in this world. Something that matters.”

Kathleen, who is retired after a 42-year career at Comerica Bank, has donated every year at the Red Cross LCA event. She has been an active donor for 30 years and didn’t stop when the pandemic hit.  

“It makes me feel good that I’m helping somebody,” she said, adding that she uses the Red Cross donor app that tracks her donor history and where her donation is being used.

To make an appointment, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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