When disasters strike, the call to donate blood is immediate and necessary, but it’s equally as important to ensure that our community supply remains at a steady level throughout the year.
Families across the city depend on these donations as they face what is oftentimes their darkest hour, and the comfort that a single pint of blood can provide is beyond measure.
Just ask neighbor Miriam Weiner, whose father, Dr. William J. Weiner, passed away on December 29, 2012 from multiple myeloma.
“Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the blood itself,” she explained. “It’s related to leukemia and lymphoma. Some people do very well with the treatments but unfortunately, my dad had a very aggressive version of it and he died after 14-months.”
“Because of his condition,” continued Miriam, “and complications that arose from it, my dad needed many many transfusions of blood and platelets–everyday at a certain point. Without the blood, he would have died much earlier than he did.”
A nationally recognized neurologist and leader in the research of Parkinson’s Disease, Dr. Weiner offered his patients more than just basic medical treatment. He gave them hope.
“From my observations, and according to his patients and colleagues,” Miriam said, “he was an extremely sensitive doctor who always believed that something could be done for even the most severely disabled of his patients.”
Dr. Weiner also left a lasting legacy as a warm and compassionate father.
“No matter how busy he was, he always had time to take our calls and really listen,” Miriam told us. “He made lunch for my sister Monica and I everyday from kindergarden to 12th grade. He took us on fantastic trips around the world. He liked to buy presents. Every month or two an envelope would arrive in my mailbox filled with articles he thought I would be interested in.
“I thought he just did this for me and my sister,” she continued, “but it turns out many colleagues and friends received their very own curated packets too–even one of his fellows who was stationed overseas in Iraq got a constant stream of mail from my dad.
“I obviously could go on and on,” Miriam said, “but for his family, and for his colleagues and patients a light has truly gone out.”
In much the same way her father did, Miriam is now offering hope to those in our community who need it most. She and her family have organized a memorial blood drive, scheduled to take place at Southside Coffee (652 6th Avenue and 19th Street) on Saturday, May 23, from 10am to 4pm.
Stop by, roll up those sleeves, and enjoy free coffee and pastries afterward as a thank you for your support. Be sure to eat a well balanced meal before donating, and remember to bring a photo ID. More information on donor requirements can be found on the New York Blood Center website.
“Strangers gave my family six extra weeks with my dad,” Miriam told us. “Strangers gave us that time. Strangers gave us their blood.”
Take a few minutes this weekend to donate, and together we can help Miriam keep Dr. Weiner’s spirit alive.
Photo via Miriam Weiner