Diocese’s Blood Donors Honored at Reception

Paul Robison of Our Lady of Lourdes parish, Queens Village, receives a special citation from Bishop DiMarzio for donating blood 227 times during his lifetime, amounting to 28 gallons of blood.

Several parishes were honored for their successful blood donors drives during a reception May 16 at Immaculate Conception Pastoral Center, Douglaston.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who serves as the chairman of the diocesan blood program, handed out awards to the top three parishes in Brooklyn and in Queens as well as to parish communities with other significant contributions.

Brooklyn parishes which donated the largest amounts of blood to the New York Blood Center were: St. Ephrems, Dyker Heights, followed by St. Columba, Marine Park, and Our Lady Help of Christians, Midwood.  In Queens, the top three were St. Margerets, Middle Village; St. Francis de Sales, Belle Harbor; and St. Rita, Long Island City.

Parishes showing the largest increase in donations were St. Ephrems; Queen of Angels, Sunnyside; and St. Margaret’s.

The top lifetime donors from the diocese wre: Alice Jena, Holy Child, Richmond Hill, 231 donations; Paul Robison, Our Lady of Lourdes, Queens Village, 227; John Alversa, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, S. Ozone Park, 214; William Caruso, Holy Family, Jamaica, 211; Michael Reinhart, St. Fidelis, College Point, 192.

Also honored was Denise DeFabio of the Diocese’s Human Resources Dept. for coordinating the diocesan blood donors program.

But the hit of the evening was four-year-old Jack Morris Rubin, whose grandfather Frank Spadaro, of St. Ephrem’s parish, Dyker Heights, was on hand to tell his story.

Diagnosed with multi-system Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis at only two months old, Jack underwent six rounds of chemotherapy before doctors decided that a complete bone marrow transplant was necessary.

During his extensive treatments  at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, numerous blood donations were required.  He even spent his first birthday there.

Today, Jack is a bouncy four year old who has experienced a miraculous recovery. During the reception in  Douglaston, he jumped into his grandfather’s arms while he was addressing the crowd.  “Look, it’s me,” he said, pointing to a screen showing a slide show of his recovery.

Afterwards, Jack, his parents, Kristy and Chad, and grandparents, posed for photos with Bishop DiMarzio.

“Donating blood is really giving the gift of life,” said Bishop DiMarzio.

The Bishop’s and the Diocese’s contributions to the New York Blood center also were to be honored by the N.Y. Mets at CitiField, prior to their game with the Padres on Thursday, May 24.