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Hofstra University marks Sandy anniversary with blood drive

Patti Reilly, 54, of Bay Shore, donates blood

Patti Reilly, 54, of Bay Shore, donates blood at Hofstra University in Hempstead, which hosted a drive with New York Blood Center to mark the one-year anniversary of superstorm Sandy. (Oct. 29, 2013) Credit: Tara Conry

As blood trickled out of Patti Reilly’s vein Tuesday morning and into the tubing strapped to her arm, she wasn’t fazed. Reilly, a secretary at Hofstra University in Hempstead, often participates in the campus’ annual fall blood drive and this year, the event took on a new purpose: commemorating the one-year anniversary of superstorm Sandy.

“It’s a little something that goes a long way,” said Reilly, 54, of Bay Shore, while sipping on juice after giving blood.

Although Reilly’s Bay Shore home was spared from Sandy, her mother’s house in Breezy Point sustained severe flood damage. It had to be gutted, but her mother, Rosemary Adrat, 83, was able to return to her home on Mother’s Day.

Reilly said she thought a blood drive was an appropriate way to mark the one-year milestone.

“A lot of people did get sick because of Sandy, there were accidents and even some of the hospitals were damaged and I’m sure their blood supplies went down,” she said.

The New York Blood Center lost 10,000 potential units of blood last year because Sandy forced it to cancel many of its blood drives, said Doreen Fiscina, an account manager for the New York Blood Center.

Although Hofstra canceled the blood drive it had scheduled for Oct. 30, 2012, the day after the storm, the university was able to quickly reschedule another one eight days later. At that drive, the New York Blood Center collected 358 pints of blood.

“Last year, there were people who were here saying, ‘My home is underwater and I just needed to do something,’” said Susan Czuwak, chairperson of Hofstra’s blood drive committee. “Even with nothing, literally the clothes on their back, they were here trying to help others.”

As of 2 p.m., Fiscina said 140 pints of blood had been donated, putting them almost halfway to the goal for the day, 300 pints. As an incentive, everyone who donates blood at the drive, which will run until 8 p.m., or at any New York Blood Center between now and Jan. 17 will be entered into a raffle for two tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII.

“We always need the blood here on Long Island,” she added. “We never know what tomorrow brings.”

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