By Eric Yun
Lisa Horner said she was shocked by the tremendous support she received at Saturday’s blood drive inspired by her daughter Carly Nieves, held at Christ the King High School (CTK).
Carly, a 14-year-old student at I.S. 73 in Maspeth who is battling leukemia needs frequent blood transfusions. But because of a shortage throughout New York’s blood centers, Carly is sometimes sent home without the treatment she desperately needed.
“When you’re told there’s no blood for her, it’s just devastating,” Horner told community members when she urged them to donate blood last month.
Despite hardships, Carly has finished her studies with honors at I.S. 73 and maintains a positive outlook on her life.
To help spread awareness about the need for blood donors, Carly and her mom teamed up with Christ the King Regional High School, the New York Blood Center and Friends of Karen to raise blood and funds for the cause.
Horner wasn’t sure what to expect at the drive, but the community and her friends came together to donate blood. “There are friends I haven’t seen in 30 or 40 years who came out to support us,” she said.
One of the biggest contributors to the blood drive were CTK students. Michael Michel, president of the school, said Carly’s sister, Juliana, a Christ the King pre-school student, first approached him about helping her sister.
“When you have a four-year-old girl ask, ‘Can you help my sister,’ it’s heart- breaking,” Michel said. “I wanted to do what I could to help.”
Michel said this was a great opportunity to get his students involved and
educate them about donating blood. More than 150 students turned out on Saturday; some donated blood while others volunteered their time. The school is hopeful that the first time experience for students will inspire lifelong participation.
“We need to get the young kids involved and educate them that donating blood is easy to do,” Michel said. The drive was such a success that there have been discussions about making it an annual event, Michel continued.
A total of 200 pints of blood were donated at the event and 54 people enrolled for the bone marrow registry. These contributions will help both Carly and the many others throughout New York City that need blood transfusions.
“There was a wonderful turnout for Carly’s cause,” Lisa Horner said. “I’m so grateful.”