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Antun’s to hold blood drive in honor of Queens Village man

A Queens Village man who was severely burned when a voltage box exploded in front of him in November got a great birthday present last month when he was released from the hospital in time to celebrate with his family.

Sean Lally, who turned 26 on Christmas Eve, is still recovering from the second- and third-degree burns covering about half his body, but his family is just happy to have him home.

“This is the best Christmas present ever,” said Terry Lally, Sean’s mother, at their 215th Place home.

And now the Lallys are hoping to give similar gifts to those in need by holding a blood drive in Sean’s name later this month. The drive is planned for Jan. 12 and is being organized by the New York Blood Center and Antun’s Catering, where Terry Lally has served as director of banquet sales for 23 years.

“My boss, Joe King, heard about what happened to Sean and he wanted to do something,” she said.

Sean Lally has been working as an electrician for about 5 1/2 years and was on a job at the New York University Medical Center in Manhattan when he was burned Nov. 7. He was working on a high-voltage box that supplies power to the MRI machines when it exploded, said Tom Lally, Sean’s father.

“He was taking the cover off and it just exploded,” he said. “His whole shirt caught on fire, his pants, his arms, his head, everything.”

Sean Lally sustained third-degree burns on 35 percent of his body and additional second-degree burns, and he was on life support in the Burn Unit at the New York Weill Cornell Center for about three weeks, Terry Lally said. The first night and the following days were touch and go as the doctors struggled to get her son to take in more oxygen, she said.

“They really didn’t expect him to make it,” Terry Lally said. “They lost him a few times during that first night.”

Sean Lally underwent two surgeries and skin-grafting procedures at the hospital, and he will need therapy about three times a week for a year, Terry Lally said. Sean, the youngest of eight children, came home Dec. 16, but he will still have to wear a specially designed suit to prevent scar tissue from developing, she said.

Sean Lally also needed about eight blood transfusions, Tom Lally said. She is hoping the blood drive planned in her son’s honor will help others who need it, he said.

“The blood drive is in his name because the blood saved him,” he said. “He shouldn’t need any more blood for himself.”

The drive is scheduled for Mon., Jan. 12, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Antun’s Catering, 96-43 Springfield Blvd. in Queens Village. Joe King, owner of Antun’s, decided to host the drive as a way to help, he said. In addition to Terry Lally, Sean has worked at the catering hall as a waiter, King said.

“I’ve known Sean since he was a little kid,” he said. “He’s doing much better, but he still has a long way to go and we just wanted to help out.”

But while he hopes the blood drive is a success, Sean Lally will not be donating, he said.

“I gave enough blood at the hospital,” he joked. “They took blood from me every night.”

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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