In the hours after 17-year-old Daniel Borowy was shot in the cafeteria of Perry Hall High School on the first day of school in August, allegedly by a 15-year-old schoolmate, doctors at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore had to use more than 10 units of donated blood to replace what he had lost.
Borowy, whose shooting prompted a broad review of safety procedures in Baltimore County schools, needed still more blood through three surgeries to repair his wounds, particularly the hole in his torso.
On Tuesday, Borowy, a special education student who has Down syndrome, was back in the cafeteria with his parents; his sister, Sara, 15; and dozens of other students and community members — this time for a blood drive in his honor.
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4601 Ebenezer Rd, White Marsh, MD 21236, USA
Borowy's parents, Milton and Rosemary, said the event, sponsored by the school, the American Red Cross and the University of Maryland Medical Center, was a way to give back after all the care and support their son received from his medical staff and the community.
"It would be a horrible thing if people needed [blood] and couldn't get it," Rosemary Borowy said as her son stood by her side in a Baltimore Blast jersey. "I know how stressful it was for me when he needed it, even though it was on the way."
The past few months have been tough for the family, but it's good to have Daniel out of the woods and doing well, Milton Borowy said.
"To know the scope of the wound and everything else, everything he has done is nothing less than amazing," he said.
Daniel returned to classes last Wednesday, and is participating in a school-sponsored work program at a nearby dollar store, which he loves, his mother said.
"I'm thrilled that he has been able to return to school. He's really missed it, and it's important for him to get back to his normal life," she said.
Said Milton Borowy: "He was tickled to see his friends."
Daniel's recovery has also meant a lot to others at the school.
"I think him recovering well definitely helped a lot," said Wendy Windsor, whose daughter Hayley, a 14-year-old freshman, was in the cafeteria at the time of the shooting. "This has been a big part of our life, so we just wanted to support this."
Students old enough to give — more than 50 signed up — said they were inspired to do so after hearing Daniel had needed blood during his treatment.
"It just seemed so real when they were talking about someone who actually went to our school needing it," said Todd Brendel, a 17-year-old senior. "It made me want to do it."
Steven Mavica, a Red Cross spokesman, said Hurricane Sandy forced the organization to cancel nearly 380 blood drives across 13 states and Washington. An "outpouring of support" from donors has since replenished their blood stores, but every event helps, he said.
Daniel, asked what he thought of the event, grinned and gave a thumbs-up.