It was an emotional reunion for Wantagh resident Anthony Kennedy and fellow FDNY firefighter Robert Wiedmann at the Crest Hollow Country Club last week, after Kennedy’s blood donation helped save Wiedmann’s life when he was badly burned in a fire.
Wiedmann suffered mostly third-degree burns on more than 50 percent of his body after responding to a call about a major house fire in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in 2011. A type O-negative blood donor himself, Wiedmann received blood donations from across the region.
Those with O-negative blood are known as universal donors because their blood can be used in trauma situations when there is no time for blood typing. Wiedmann’s many donors were critical in saving his life, as he underwent more than a dozen surgeries.
“You never know when you might need it — your family, your neighbor, your friend,” he said of the donations. “It’s definitely strangers helping strangers.”
Kennedy, 48, said he was thrilled that his blood helped save a life, and he stressed the importance of donating. “I’m just happy that we were a match and I could do some good,” he said. “Blood donation works that way.”
Kennedy added that donating doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, but the results are tremendous. “Plus, there’s always the hope that there will be people to do the same for me,” he said.
Wiedmann said he never thought he would need blood donors’ assistance, but he was grateful for those who helped out. “Hopefully everyone could take a few minutes out of their day to do that for somebody else that they don’t know,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to be able to do that for someone. I’m just so appreciative of the community.”