More than 300 new FDNY firefighters sign up to be organ donors, give blood

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
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Tim Fleischer has the exclusive.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- With their training for a career of service nearly complete, 304 FDNY probationary firefighters are now being asked to make another lifesaving sacrifice.

"Each of you can pledge to be a blood, bone marrow and organ donor today and in doing so set an example for others to follow," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

In making this voluntary pledge at the fire academy these "probies" now become part of an honored tradition in the FDNY as more than 25,000 have given blood.

"Putting people before yourself. Making sacrifices for others. Your brothers and sisters and the people of the City of New York," said Kevin Diaz, probationary FDNY firefighter.

Offering a cheek swab, FDNY firefighters are the largest single group on the "Be the Match Bone Marrow Registry," making 225 bone marrow and stem cell donations.

"Everyone is so willing to do it. If you just get everyone and tell them exactly why they're doing it. Just give them that little push to get them there," said Shannon Maloney, probationary FDNY firefighter.

And by signing up with the "Live on NY" organ donor program, one person can save up to eight lives and improve 50 others.

Firefighter Michael Hargaden's wife, Rosemary, received a double lung transplant.

"I'm here to ask for your help today. The life you save by becoming an organ donor could be that of a fellow firefighter. Please sign up today and become an organ donor," Hargaden said.

After 18 weeks of training, much of it dangerous and demanding, the most of each these firefighters they will graduate next week but are already starting their service.

"Just what a great thing it is to donate blood and the people you help out. I'm just willing to get out here and donate blood when I get a chance to," said Charles Denman, probationary FDNY firefighter.

"They see that we are doing it, that it's a good idea for everyone to get involved. It's only to help, anything to do to help," said Jacob Glaser, probationary FDNY firefighter.