The New York Mets have held blood drives even when Shea Stadium was still standing, but Monday was a special one.
Citi Field made it to 5,000 pints of blood since it opened in 2009, and the person who donated that 5,000th pint was rewarded handsomely.
“That person will be surprised and awarded VIP tickets to watch the game on the field level, an opportunity to watch batting practice from the field and a David Wright signed photo and a team signed jersey as well,” said Danielle Parillo, senior director of community outreach and communications for the Mets.
Donors who go to the blood drive at Citi Field get a voucher for two seats at a Mets home game, but for Virginia Feinman she got much more then she expected.
“It’s almost surreal, I was almost debating on not even coming today,” winner Virginia Feinman said. “I was talking to my boyfriend and I said I really kind of just want to go home and sleep, but I said I can’t do it, I can’t skip it because if I do then I’ll feel so guilty about any of the lives that I could have saved and didn’t save.”
Feinman’s gut feeling followed through as she was also rewarded an opportunity to meet one of the current Met players. “I would like to meet Daniel Murphy,” she said.
Feinman is from Shirley, L. I. and currently lives in Maspeth. As a child, her parents would bring her to four to seven Mets home games a year and now goes to 10 to 20 games per year.
She considers herself a die-hard Met fan.
“I traveled to Chicago to go see the Mets [recently] and I’m going to go to Pittsburgh, so I obviously travel to see the team, too,” Feinman said.
“I’m very shocked right now,” she said. “It’s taking a little while to sink in, It feels like I’ll wake up in a couple of hours and find out it was just a dream ’cause this is pretty amazing.”
The Mets have worked with New York Blood Center for a long time, and when someone donates blood, three lives are saved.
“This is the biggest blood drive in Queens,” Joe Ferrara, account manager for the New York Blood Center, said Monday. “We usually get about 600 donations, That’s what we’re expecting today, probably more.”
In the past, the blood drive has started at 10 a.m. but on Monday the doors opened at 9 a.m., which Ferrara thought would draw more blood donations than in years past.
Citi Field hosts two blood drives every year, one in the winter and one in the summer. These are the two times of the year when blood banks run low on blood and need as many donations as possible.
Each donor was given a voucher to receive two tickets online for a September home game that is listed on the voucher.