St. Agnes Knights of Columbus hosts triannual Tom Toy Memorial blood drive


The St. Agnes Knights of Columbus Council 2548, working in conjunction with the New York Blood Center, hosted its triannual Tom Toy Memorial Blood Drive on Feb. 18, at the St. Agnes Parish Center in RVC.

Tom Toy, a Rockville Centre native who died in October 2020, created this critical community service in 1993, following the untimely death of his 23-year-old daughter, Betsy Toy Schowerer, from Leukemia.

According to the Knights of Columbus, approximately 200 to 250 units of blood were donated per year — roughly 6,500 units overall — in the years that Tom headed up the blood drive.

“We are proud to continue the blood drive in Tom’s Memory,” Grand Knight Bill Kurrus, said. “Since 1999, starting with Tom’s effort, St. Agnes has collected 5,000 units (of blood) for the New York Blood Center.”

Kurrus currently oversees this highly attended triannual event, which last year, collected 138 units of blood for the New York Blood Center. During its recent event, last Sunday, St. Agnes parishioners gave 58 units of blood.

The New York Blood Center, one of the largest community-based nonprofit blood collection and distribution organizations in the country, has reported an urgent need for donations due to an emergency shortage affecting millions of residents in the New York Metropolitan area.

Unfortunately, part of the reason for the shortage is that supply seldom meets demand. While 62 percent of the United States population can donate, only about 3 percent will donate blood each year.

According to the Red Cross, approximately 29,000 units of red blood cells, 5,000 units of platelets and 6,500 units of plasma are needed everyday for transfusions, surgery, treatment, illness or injury.

By donating whole blood, red blood cells, platelets or plasma, people can help save up to three lives in one hour.

In order to donate you must be at least 17 or older, or 16 with a parent or guardian’s written consent, and weigh at least 110 lbs. It is also recommended that donors schedule an appointment when they are in good health, and have been symptom-free for at least 72 hours following a cold or flu. Some types of medication, medical conditions, pregnancy, sexual health, international travel, or recent tattoos and piercings may impact eligibility.

To learn more about donating the lifesaving gift of blood, platelets or plasma, or for more information on upcoming blood drives in your area, visit