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Blood Drive Nets 20-Plus Pints for Local Hospitals

Local teen organizes successful blood drive which she says will be an annual event.

Long Island Blood Services collected 22 useful pints of blood from volunteer donors during a blood drive at Huntington American Legion Post 360 on Friday.

According to drive organizer and 15-year-old Huntington Station resident Katheryn Benedetto, of the 28 prospective donors who arrived at the blood drive, 22 met the criteria of medical eligibility and donated blood, which will be dispursed to local hospitals, specifically Huntington Hospital.

Benedetto, a rising sophomore at St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington, had set the drive's goal at 50 pints of blood, but said she was happy with the result. "Twenty-two pints was a little less than I expected, but it's better than none," Benedetto said.

Prospective donors arrived sporadically throughout the six-hour drive, Benedetto explained. "We had waves of people," she said. "A bunch of people came in at one time, and then for an hour or an hour-and-a-half no one would really come in."

Commack resident Peter Cara said he decided to give blood on the spur of the moment. "I wasn't really planning on coming today, but I saw the sign as I was driving past and said, 'I'll go now,'" he said.

Huntington resident Greg Lowenthal, who donated for the second time this year, said he read about the drive on the New York Blood Center's website. "I really don't mind giving blood, though I know some people do," Lowenthal said.

Benedetto said she is committed to making the blood drive an annual benefit. "I think in the years to come we'll get more people just because we know what to do and what not to do," she said.

Specifically, Benedetto said she feels that some advertising strategies are more effective than others. "I could've probably done a lot more to send more people in," Benedetto said. "I could've gone out more and asked face to face."

But Huntington resident and donor Jennifer Queen said she was impressed with Benedetto's initiative and the event as a whole. "I think it's really ambitious of her," Queen said. "She did a great job."

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