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New Jersey family whose son was hit by a car underscores the lifesaving importance of donating blood – CBS New York

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CHATHAM, NJ (CBSNewYork) – We told you about the emergency blood shortage, which is now at a crisis level.

Cindy Hsu from CBS2 spoke to a New Jersey family about the life-saving need for a donation.

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The DiMaggio family has held blood donation drives in honor of Michael, now 18 and a freshman to college, for several years.

At the age of 11, Michael was hit by a car on his way home from school in Chatham and barely survived.

“In the first 72 hours of the accident, he needed more than seven blood transfusions to save his life,” said Nicole DiMaggio, Michael’s mother. “He was in the hospital for a total of three months, and he was operated on ten times.”

It took Michael two years to recover, and the family has held “Stay Strong Michael” blood drives every year since then.

“It’s a lot more important than anyone can ever think because … you can’t see where it’s going, but I know firsthand that it always serves a good cause,” Michael said.

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The American Red Cross is saying that there is an urgent need for people to donate blood.

“This is the worst blood shortage crisis in over a decade, and we’ve seen the decline since the pandemic began,” said Rosie Taravella of the New Jersey American Red Cross. “Doctors are forced to make difficult decisions about who can have transfusions and who may have to wait.”

“I would tell everyone out there, go donate blood because you could save a few lives and it would be really nice to know that one day the blood would be there when you need it or one of your loved ones needs it,” said Nicole DiMaggio.

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The family is so grateful to all of the people who saved Michael’s life, including the first responders on the scene, that Nicole became a paramedic.

“I joined the Chatham Emergency Squad and have been an EMT volunteer ever since, and it’s without question one of the best things I’ve ever done,” said Nicole DiMaggio.

She says almost losing Michael put life in perspective.

“One of the things I’ve been saying since the accident is that a good day for me is a day when all three of my children are safe in their beds,” she said.

WATCH: Mayor of Paterson urges residents to donate blood –

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh also encourages everyone to donate.

“We have a blood donation campaign here at the fire brigade. We announced that on Monday. Not many people attended, but we really have a shortage of blood supply. In fact, St. Joe’s Hospital is suffering, ”he said.

The city will host another blood drive at Paterson Fire Department headquarters on Friday, January 21.

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The American Red Cross says some of the blood donation drives have been canceled due to COVID, but urges people to be patient and please make an appointment to donate blood. For more information on donating blood, visit redcross.org/give-blood.

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