About Johnny Damato

2014 headshot Johnny.jpg


WHEN: Sunday, November 23, 2014, 12PM-6PM

WHERE: Fort Lee Community Center, 1355 Inwood Terrace, Fort Lee, NJ

WHY: Give the gift of blood, Register to be organ donor, Raise Awareness

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the 3rd Annual Johnny Damato Donor Awareness Drive will be held at Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center on Sunday, November 23rd, Noon–6:00 p.m.

The event, inspired by 18-year-old heart transplant recipient Johnny Damato, is a continuous effort to show gratitude and to promote the importance of blood donation and organ registration, both which saved his life.

The event is in honor of Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA), which provides financial support to families like Johnny’s to offset transplant-related expenses.

As part of the drive, a silent auction will be held to benefit the organization.

“If more people were aware of the need for organ donors and knew how many lives just one donor could save, I know more people would become donors,” says Damato, whose two previous events have provided high yield in blood and platelet donations as well as multiple organ and bone marrow registrants.

“One organ donor can give 50 people a second chance at having a normal life again,” says Damato who received a heart transplant in June 2012. “I am hoping this drive will make a difference for other families waiting for transplants, speeding the process and reducing the stress involved.”

The 3rd Annual Johnny Damato Donor Awareness Day will include:

  • A blood drive by Community Blood Services. Donors can register in advance online at https://donor.cbsblood.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/37052 (walk ins OK)
  • An organ donation registry conducted by the New Jersey Sharing Network;
  • Opportunity to bid for silent auction prizes, the proceeds of which will benefit COTA.

For more information or to donate an auction prize, call Mary Gendron Augustyn at 917.340.1006 or email her at mgendron@mg-pr.com. For more information about COTA, log onto www.COTAforJohnnyD.com.


ABOUT JOHNNY: The son of John and Rita Damato, Johnny is a 17-year-old from Fort Lee, NJ with a passion for baseball, family and riding his bike with friends. He was born with a rare heart defect which began to manifest itself two years ago.

On June 13, 2012, Johnny received a life-saving emergency heart transplant from the doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, NY.

With the cost of a heart transplant often exceeding $500,000, the Damatos are challenged to cover the cost of the surgery, continual visits to the doctor and expensive anti-rejection medications which Johnny will have to take for the rest of his life.


Contact Us: If you're interested in being a volunteer, sponsor, or hosting event to benefit COTAforJohnny D, please contact Mary Gendron (Fundraising Coordinator) at: mgendron@MG-PR.COM or call daytime: 212-980-9065 or mobile: 917-340-1006.

Please LIKE our Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/CotaForJohnnyDamato