Tremendous Response at Blood Drive For Frankie Potis

The response was overwhelming at the February 9th blood drive and bone marrow search held for 9-month old Frankie Potis by the East Bergen Firefighters Mutual Aid Association, a group comprised of firefighters from 11 towns

More than 200 blood donors showed up at the Edgewater Community Center and 150 pints of blood were collected in the effort to save the life of Frankie, the nephew of a Leonia firefighter who died in the line of duty.

The drive, which was conducted by Community Blood Services of Paramus and the HLA Registry Foundation based in River Edge, had to be extended for 2 additional hours to accommodate all the donors who showed up.

Frankie, a former Leonia resident, was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) during a routine check-up. The only chance to save Frankie's life is to find a donor whose bone marrow is a perfect match.

Tom Quinton, the Edgewater volunteer firefighter who organized the drives with help from members of the Leonia Fire Department and Frankie's family and friends, said he wanted to personally thank everyone who worked so hard the past month to make the drive a success, as well as all those who turned out to donate.

Frankie currently lives in Puyallup, Washington with his mother, his father Frank, and 12-year-old brother Dylan but had made the trip back East to be at the Saturday blood drive.

Susan Mysliwiec, director of donor recruitment for Community Blood Services, said, "It was heartwarming to see the public response to such a tremendous need."

"What better way to spend your Saturday morning than to come out to donate blood to save a little boy?" said Firefighter Charles Lind. Jr of Fairview.

Donations to help pay the cost to test donors and assist the family with their medical expenses can be made to the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department Co.#1, Frankie's Fund, c/o NVE Savings Bank, 310 Broad Ave., P.O. Box 125, Leonia, New Jersey 07605.

The East Bergen Firefighter Mutual Aid Association is comprised of units from Leonia, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Edgewater, Cliffside Park, Fairview, Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Teaneck and Tenafly.

Community Blood Services recruiter Louise Greiner helps blood donor Craig Wallace of Jersey City with his registration form while other donors line up behind him.
Hoping to donate their blood for Frankie, donors (from left) Robert Armstrong of Edgewater, Dawn Schmidhamer of Carlstadt and Dara Severino of Ridgefield get their paperwork ready.
Firefighters John Weber of Leonia and Charles Lind of Fairfield (left to right, sitting on beds) get ready to donate blood.
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