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Flushing Rotary seeks organ donors

Dan Flori, a Rotary Club member for more than 10 years, is on the waiting list for a new heart after complications from cancer led to severe heart problems. He is now hooked up to a heart-monitoring device which provides 24-hour monitoring and intravenous drip of medication to keep his heart healthy while he waits. The Flushing Rotary Club annually donates to the Gift of Life Foundation, which collects money to help poor children in foreign countries get much-needed heart surgery. Flori recently has taken matters into his own hands to spread the word about organ donation. He believes that long waiting lists for organs nationwide could easily be reduced if more information reaches the public. "It seems like such a little problem, with 92,000 people waiting, but people really need to talk about it," Flori said. Flori took his message to fellow Rotary members last week, bringing in Jack Locicero and Frank Bodino of Transplant Speakers International to tell the club at the monthly meeting last in Whitestone of their own experiences with organ donation. Both Locicero and Bodino echoed Flori's sentiments and urged Rotary members to discuss the issue with their families and become donors."You can save eight lives by one person donating," Bodino said. Bodino, a heart transplant recipient himself, said he waited for months in a hospital while his health deteriorated before receiving a transplant from a 16-year-old girl. He described the pain of hearing "Code Blue," the standard hospital code for a patient's heart stopping, come over the hospital intercom, knowing it was likely for one of his friends waiting for an organ. "It was a constant reminder of the jeopardy I was in," Bodino said.Rotary members wiped tears from their eyes as Locicero told the group about his daughter, Amy Federici, one of six people who died as a result of a brutal shooting on the Long Island Rail Road in 1994.Locicero said he and his wife Arlene spent days waiting for their then-27-year-old daughter, who was being kept alive on a respirator, to wake up. She never did. Following her death, Frederici's organs were donated, and since then Locicero and his wife have traveled the country telling her story. Locicero held up a picture of his daughter and said that people often don't think about things seriously until they can put a name and a face to it. "I want to give you a name: Amy. I want to give you a face: Amy," he said. Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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