Dedicated to giving back – for the 100th time
David Luciani knows what it’s like to have a close brush with death, so he’s happy to have given the gift of life – hundreds of times.
Luciani recently was honored for giving his 100th blood platelet donation. Previously, he was awarded a 20-gallon pin for making 160 whole blood donations.
“He’s very dedicated to saving peoples’ lives with these precious blood products,” said Lok Tse, supervisor of the transfusion medicine services and the blood donor program for Cape Cod Healthcare.
“I want to give back. I’m very blessed,” said Luciani, 49, who was born at Cape Cod Hospital and lives in Barnstable Village.
When Luciani was a student at Assumption College in Worcester, he was in a car accident that left him in a coma for 72 days.
“I was coming home from a Christmas dance and I hit black ice and slammed into a tree,” he said. “The EMTs brought me to UMass Medical Center in Worcester and I was given last rites. The doctors said that if I survived, my cognitive future would be bleak.”
“My mother made a sign that said, ‘In this room, God and David make all the decisions.' She never gave up,” he said.
Luciani was hospitalized for four months and survived meningitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.
“I didn’t die obviously, so I have a lot to be grateful for,” he said.
He remembers tagging along when his father donated blood. He began donating blood in his mid-20s when his mother was diagnosed with cancer.
“I started, and I never stopped. It’s a tribute to her,” he said.
When he received a pin marking 20 gallons (160 donations), he was told that he was a good candidate for donating platelets, which are needed by patients who have difficulty with blood clotting or have weakened immune systems.
Cape Cod Healthcare performs 900 platelet transfusions a year at its hospitals in Hyannis and Falmouth, according to Tse. Cape Cod Healthcare needs additional platelet donors to meet this demand.
“Platelets only have a shelf life of five days, so we have to constantly replenish our supply,” he said. “That’s why it’s important that we have donors like David who donate on a regular basis.”
Luciani is the first to be given the glass “Every Drop Counts” award for donating platelets. The awards were designed and made by Michael Magyar of the Glass Studio on Cape Cod in East Sandwich.
“The community rallied around my family when I was near death,” said Luciani. “We like giving back That’s why I do this.”
David and his father, Stephen, own Coachlight Carpets in Centerville. They’re known in the village for their commitment to community service, including supplying the amusing and inspiring roadside displays at the intersection of Old Stage Road and Route 28 in Centerville.
David likes to joke around (“I come for the crackers. I stay for the platelets,” he said in the blood donation room at Cape Cod Hospital, while wearing a face mask that made it look like he was smoking a cigar), but he’s serious about platelet and blood donations.
“It's all about giving back in this world,” he said. “God's blessed me, so I just do what I can to try and help other people.”
For information about donating platelets, contact the Nicholas G. Xiarhos Blood Donor Center at 508-86BLOOD (508-862-5663).