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Springdale woman donates blood 365 times since 9/11 attacks

Catherine Dunlap started giving blood after the 9/11 attacks and has not stopped since.
Credit: CBCO
Catherine Dunlap of Springdale relaxes as she gives for the 365th time at Community Blood Center of the Ozarks in Springdale. Dunlap’s first donation came on the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — A blood donor that gave for the first time right after 9/11 has donated a total of 365 times, saving the lives of many.

Catherine Dunlap of Springdale was living in Rolla Missouri with her husband when 9/11 happened. Her husband was attending the University of Missouri at the time while in the National Guard.

 “My husband was in the National Guard at the time, so we watched it with that perspective,” she said, “There was just so much destruction. I mean, this is iconic New York. You know the size of the buildings, and when they fell, I realized that a lot of people just died, but a lot more had been hurt,” said Dunlap.

The next day, the university held a blood drive with the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO).

“I didn’t have anything else to give at that time,” she recalls. “We were dead broke college students, but blood I had plenty of. So, it was blood I gave.”

This would be the first time Dunlap donated blood.

“It was packed,” Dunlap recalls. I don’t even know how long it took. But I had time. I brought a book. The donation itself went a bit better than I had anticipated. I have kind of weird veins that aren’t always where they’re supposed to be. But since it went so well, I decided to give for a second time the next time CBCO came to campus. And I guess it just snowballed from there." said Dunlap

Since then, Dunlap has donated every two weeks. So much, that she is on the organization's Hall of Fame. Dunlap marked her 365th donation at CBCO’s Springdale Donor Center last month (Aug. 2021).

“I’ve always got blood,” Dunlap says. “I may not have money. I may not always have tons of time. But it does so much good. As long as I’m healthy enough to give, I’ll always do so.”

Dunlap says she does not have plans to stop donating any time soon.

Credit: CBCO
Catherine Dunlap’s name adorns the CBCO Hall of Fame for frequent donors.