By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A blood drive organized by a Bay Ridge mom in memory of her late son drew a tremendous amount of support on Wednesday, as scores of people rolled up their sleeves to donate their plasma for a good cause.
By the end of the day, 100 pints of blood had been donated, according to June Johnson, a Bay Ridge community activist who held the event in memory of her son, Mathiew Johnson, a school custodian who died of a heart attack last year. Mother and son would often donated blood and Johnson said she thought a blood drive would be a great way to pay tribute to her son.
The blood drive, which was held under the auspices of the New York Blood Center, took place in the school where Mathiew Johnson worked, PS 102 at 211 72nd St.
“I’m so happy with the way it turned out. So many people came. It meant a lot to me and my family,” Johnson told the Brooklyn Eagle. Johnson and her family members all wore T-shirts with the slogan, “Let’s do it for Matty.”
There were long lines of donors waiting to give blood when the Brooklyn Eagle visited the site late Wednesday afternoon.
To keep children entertained while their parents were waiting to donate blood, Johnson had set up a play center and an arts and crafts table.
Grownups were given raffle tickets for a chance to win gift baskets that Johnson’s friend Sandy Irrera had brought to the blood drive.
“We wanted ton turn it into a nice event for people,” Johnson said. The day was such a big hit, Johnson said she is considering making it an annual event.
In addition to the blood drive, PS 102 was also the setting on Wednesday for a bone marrow donor drive for Dominick LoCascio, a Dyker Heights man suffering from multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. LoCascio is in need of a bone marrow transplant and the purpose of Wednesday’s drive was to seek a match for him.
The event was called “Swab for Dom,” in reference to the way a person is tested as a possible bone marrow match. A technician uses a Q-Tip type of instrument to take a swab from inside a person’s mouth.
Johnson said 60 people were tested as possible donors.
“All and all, I’d say the whole thing was a big success, for my family and for the LoCascios,” Johnson said.
Johnson is well known in Bay Ridge for her numerous endeavors. She is a member of Community Board 10 and is a member of the Garden Club of Bay Ridge, the Bay Ridge Community Council and the American Cancer Society.