Massapequa community is comes together in memory of Heather Pendergast and in support of Massapequa toddler Lia Galm
On Monday, April 23, the Massapequa Fire Department and New York Blood Center will host a blood drive in honor of two Massapequa residents who have touched many hearts: Heather Pendergast and Lia Galm.
The drive will run from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Massapequa Fire Department at 515 Hicksville Road. This event will help ensure hospitals and patients have access to the life-saving blood they need.
For the 10th year in a row, the fire department is hosting a blood drive in memory of Heather Pendergast, the daughter of Penny Pendergast and Former Chief of the Massapequa Fire Department, Thomas Pendergast. At a young age, Heather was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), and she was later diagnosed with cancer. Her long, courageous battle was lost on Oct. 30, 2008. Every year since, the fire department has held a blood drive in her honor to help those battling serious illnesses.
This year’s blood drive is also held in support of Lia Galm, a 3-year-old girl who was adopted from China and has a rare condition called Saethre Chotzen Syndrome. This condition has required her to undergo multiple skull surgeries and blood transfusions. In these instances, donor blood has saved Lia’s life.
Blood product transfusions are vital to treatment plans for patients like Heather and Lia. It takes one hour to donate blood, and a single donation can be used to save multiple lives.
Nearly 2,000 donations are needed each day in New York and New Jersey alone. About one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion, and with a limited shelf life, supplies must be continually replenished. Those in need include: cancer patients, accident, burn, or trauma victims, newborn babies and their mothers, transplant recipients, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, and many more. Donors with O-negative blood type, or “universal donors,” are especially encouraged to attend, as their blood can be used in emergencies.
Founded in 1964, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the world.