Blood drive for local girl at Grace United Methodist Church on Oct. 20


Daniela Ciriello was all dressed up and ready to go on a Disney Cruise in 2015, above. Now six years old, a blood drive will be held in her honor on Oct. 20.

Paula Lopatosky, a Southington resident, is hosting her ninth annual blood drive at Grace United Methodist Church at 121 Pleasant St, Southington CT in honor of Plainville residents Daniela and Matteo Ciriello on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30p.m.

Daniela is six years old and was diagnosed with Beta Thalassemia (Cooley’s Anemia) when she was 14 months old.  Daniela needs blood transfusions every three weeks to manage her condition.

Matteo is two years old and was also diagnosed at 14 months with the same condition.  Fortunately, Matteo’s condition is being treated with medication right now but he may require blood transfusions in the future.

“I am very passionate about hosting these blood drives in honor of Daniela and Matteo,” said Lopatosky. “I always knew it was important to donate blood, but now that I know the Ciriello family, it has become personal, and I really understand how important donating blood is. Every donated pint of blood saves three lives.  Every time Daniela gets a blood transfusion, someone saved her life.”

Grace UMC hosts blood drives twice a year in April and October.  The first blood drive was in Oct. 2014.  Since its inception, 482 pints of blood have been collected, saving 1,446 lives.

The Grace UMC blood drives have amazing support from Daniela and Matteo’s family.  The Ciriello’s immediate and extended family come and support every blood drive.  Daniela and Matteo have an older brother and sister who also come.

The Grace UMC blood drive offers breakfast casseroles, pulled pork sliders, pasta, coleslaw, sandwiches, and dessert to entice people to donate blood at the drive.   New for this drive, each donor will receive a voucher for a free 12 oz coffee from Caffe del Mondo, and Valentine the Clown will be making a special appearance between 12 and 1 p.m.

The goal for this blood drive is to have 90 scheduled appointments and collect 70 usable pints of blood.  If anyone would like to donate blood, appointments can be made at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or – code CTGUMC.

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