Chelsea IrizarryApr 24, 2018, 2:07 pm

Massapequa FD’s annual blood drive to help girl with rare medical condition

Annual event held in memory of fire chief’s late daughter will benefit 3-year-old adopted from China


MASSAPEQUA — For a decade the Massapequa Fire Dept. has hosted a blood drive in memory of Heather Pendergast, the daughter of the former Fire Chief, Thomas Pendergast.

“Heather was born with a very rare bone marrow failure syndrome called Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome,” said Pendergast. His daughter was later diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Throughout her life she needed blood transfusions from time to time, mostly platelet. However in 2007, 2008,, when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, she needed many transfusions, both platelet and whole blood” Pendergast explained.

Heather passed away at 31-years-old, in 2008, and every year since, the fire department holds a blood drive in her honor, to help those battling serious illness.

“When my daughter, when she needed blood, how terribly ill she was, and then once she started getting the blood, it was like a new person, you can see it,” Pendergast recalled.

This year’s blood drive on Monday was a joint-effort that was also held in support of three-year-old, Lia Galm

“I know she needs many surgeries, but she's in a good place here in the United States,” Pendergast said.

Galm, who was adopted from China, has a rare genetic condition, requiring her to undergo multiple skull surgeries and blood transfusions. In turn, the Massapequa community came out to support one another, with the hope to make a difference in someone's life

“Baby Lia, and anything I can do to help along the way, I more than happy to do,” said Massapequa Park Nancy Dougherty.

Pendergast said by giving up to just one hour of time, a single donation can be used to save multiple lives.

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