After Accident, Westchester Teen Organizes Blood Drive

Kennedy Catholic HS student Anthony Torchia is giving back this week.

Anthony Torchia was barely home three days after an extended stay at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center when he started asking about how he could help replenish the four pints of blood he received during just as many transfusions.

"He said, 'Can we call the New York Blood Center?'" recalled Anna Torchia, the Kennedy Catholic High School senior's mother.

Three months before this conversation, Anthony and his family had been enjoying a summer day at their Ossining home when the unimaginable happened.

"I was on a quad and I was taking it around my cul-de-sac," he told Patch at a Maria Fareri event in October. "The throttle got stuck. I woke up and I was in shock."

Anthony has no recollection about what happened after his life-threatening accident.

"He was unconscious at the time," Anna Torchia said. "Four skull fractures, he had broken ribs, a shattered spleen and was bleeding internally. It was one hurdle after another, but after three weeks, it was amazing how he walked out of there."

That same summer, Anthony organized his first blood drive. A modest start, it involved family members and close friends.

"I really wanted to give back to people who gave all that stuff to me," he said.

This Thursday will be the second annual blood drive Anthony has organized at his Somers high school. The student and football player said he purposely chose this time of year to host the drive.

"In the summer and in the winter is when you need the most blood," Anthony said he learned from the New York Blood Center. "Around the holidays, people aren't really that concerned about giving blood. They are busy shopping and stuff."

But, people may not realize, Anthony added, that the number of weather-related accidents this time of year only contributes further to the need for donations.

"We have [a drive] in the summer, too," he said, noting his accident occurred in June of 2011.

After not being able to play football last year after his accident, Anthony received clearance from his doctor to play this year.

"One of the hardest things me and my husband had to do was allow it to happen," Anna admitted. "But, Anthony's entire drive to get better was him trying to get back to playing football."

Though he doesn't think he will continue playing the sport in college, Anthony said he really wanted one last hurrah as a high school senior.

"That's what pushed me," he explained. "I thought I just really want to play this year."

The blood drive will be held at Kennedy Catholic High School on Thursday, Dec. 20 between 2:30 and 8:30 p.m. Make an appointment by calling 800-933-BLOOD or at www.nybloodcenter.org. Walk-ins are also welcome.


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