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Bayside helps to relieve U.S. blood shortage

“A lot of people are really squeamish,” said Deborah Lang of Bayside as she gave blood at the Bayside Volunteer Ambulance Corps’ first blood drive Sunday. “I think a lot of people don’t really know what a piece of cake this...

By Kathianne Boniello

For some, it’s no big deal.

“A lot of people are really squeamish,” said Deborah Lang of Bayside as she gave blood at the Bayside Volunteer Ambulance Corps’ first blood drive Sunday. “I think a lot of people don’t really know what a piece of cake this is.”

Lang was one of the several dozen residents who gave their time and blood on a picture-perfect summer afternoon at the Bayside Ambulance Corps on 42nd Avenue in Bayside.

With an emergency blood shortage crippling the metropolitan area, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) praised the Bayside Ambulance Corps and predicted other local ambulance corps would follow its lead.

“I think its great, and the community seems to have responded,” he said. “All the corps should do it, and I’m sure they will, one by one.”

Sal Puglisi, who helped coordinate the Bayside Ambulance Corps’ blood drive, said the organization had exceeded its goal of collecting 50 units of blood after only a few hours.

“It’s going better than expected,” he said. “We want to try to make it an annual event.”

Puglisi said about 15 staff members helped run the blood drive, which included food such as hot dogs and hamburgers, donuts, cookies and juice.

While the emergency blood shortage means a lot of people have not been donating, those who came to do their part Sunday had no problems.

“It’s to help save a life,” said Susan Gramas of Bayside while she waited for her turn to donate. “People are afraid. It’s the sight of blood, or the needle.”

Debbie DeMeo, also of Bayside, agreed.

“A lot of people are nervous, but it’s easy,” she said.

Padavan said he learned of the importance of donating blood through personal experience.

“I’m a walking example of the importance of giving blood,” he said.

A 1967 hunting accident upstate left the now veteran politician in desperate need of the life-saving magic of donated blood.

With the help of upstate blood donors and several surgeries, Padavan survived.

“A lot of people are becoming sensitive to the need for blood,” he said.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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