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Mets and New York Blood Center team-up to give gift of life at Citi Field

Mary Boatti is one such example of how the gift of blood can help save a life. Photo by: Stacy Podelski

On a chilly Thursday in Queens’ donors, volunteers and staff members all gathered together at Citi Field to give the gift of life, as the New York Mets teamed with the New York Blood Center to hold its annual Winter Blood drive.

There was a quite nervous and excited energy in the Caesars Club, as many first time donors along with veterans were in attendance. With friendly faces around ready to help, combined with some of the finest staff members walking you through each step of the process-it is easy to see why people have made this a yearly tradition.

Jeannie Mascolino, the Executive Director of Collections with the New York Blood Center, took time out to speak to 1495 Sports about the need for blood and why it is so important to donate.

“We need to collect typically around 2,000 pints of blood a day in order to maintain an adequate blood supply for the community,” Mascolino said. “The blood collected here today will be distributed out to the local area hospitals- it could be within the next few days or weeks and it helps with drama patients, cancer victims and people in need of blood transfusions.”

One such blood donation helped Mary Boatti, who at 93-years of age, was on hand at Citi Field to donate her time and thank those for coming in to give the gift of live. Boatti was 57-years-old when she felt a tear and movement inside of her body. At first the Astoria-native thought to have had poisoning, sadly that wasn’t the case as Mary eventually grew to a fever of 105 degrees.

It was only when she was at St. Luke’s Hospital, that Boatti was told that her appendix ruptured, “They  told me I had no chance of living, but thanks to the care that I got and the blood that I was given I was able to make it through.”

The seven-year volunteer also has an incredible strength and energy, which also helped with her recovery. Sitting at the first station, Mary’s was the first face donors’ were greeted by as they entered into Citi Field on Thursday.

“This is my first time sitting down here at the table, normally I am upstairs giving out the cookies,” Boatti said. “I like it down here though, I like interacting with the people and making sure that they know how important their donation is.”

In the two combined blood drives in 2011, the Mets along with the New York Blood Center collected a total of 1,085 pints of precious material. The same blood that saved Boatti’s and many other’s lives.  The franchise combined with the Blood Center has this drive every winter and spring, with the Mets earning three consecutive Diamond Awards.

Since the opening of Citi Field in 2009 donors have given 3,500 pints of blood in support of the Center’s mission, those participating in Thursday’s, were given a voucher for a pair of tickets to a Mets game in April combined with a voucher for 15% off in the team store.

Written on January 6, 2012

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