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Wyandanch woman who survived shooting holds blood drive to show her gratitude

Antonia Brown, 22, speaks with her uncle, John

Antonia Brown, 22, speaks with her uncle, John Marshall, 59, both of Wyandanch, at the first Antonia Brown Blood Drive, a community blood drive in her honor, at the Living Hope Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, on June 13, 2015, in Massapequa. Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

One hundred and thirty-five.

That's how many pints of blood it took to save Antonia Brown's life.

In what police believe was a case of mistaken identity, Brown, 22, of Wyandanch, was shot four times in the abdomen in February as she sat in her car outside a friend's house in West Babylon.

After a dozen surgeries and a 50-day hospital stay, a health worker told Brown's mother: "No human being ever really receives that many units of blood and survives."

Brown was in a medically induced coma for more than three weeks. Doctors initially didn't think she would survive.

"She lost a lot of blood, and she's just a miracle," Diane Mercer, 49, of Wyandanch, said of her daughter. Mercer said she credits "God and the trauma team, and everybody who helped save her life."

Saturday, with help from the New York Blood Center, Mercer and Brown, and many of their supporters, held a blood drive at Living Hope Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Massapequa.

Still marveling at that amazing number -- 135 -- they aimed to help replenish the center's blood supply.

A final tally of donated pints wasn't immediately available, but at least 100 donors signed up in advance.

Many showed up wearing "Team Antonia" T-shirts with "Stop the Violence" printed on the front.

Police have yet to make an arrest in the Feb. 28 shooting and have not released a possible motive.

Outside the church, under a tent, Brown's family held a fish fry, the proceeds of which will go toward paying her medical bills, Mercer said.

There have been constant challenges since Brown left Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.

She's still wearing a corset-like binder to protect the plastic surgery that closed the wounds in her stomach. And she can't do simple things like bend over yet.

Her home health aide job remains on hold, but she plans to return to school in September to continue pursuing a nursing degree.

"Some days I'm a little down, but I'm so excited today, I can't stop smiling," Brown said. "I'm just happy to be here."


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