September 03, 2013
My donations started in the spring of 2010, when I went to a community blood drive at the Orchard Park Presbyterian Church where I gave whole blood. Noting my blood type, the staff asked me if I was interested in donating platelets. Unsure of what the process was, I was pleased by the fact that you could donate more than once every 8 weeks, and that you could get a free lunch. (All right, food always tends to get me interested in doing something).
So, with some apprehension, I scheduled an appointment at Southgate in West Seneca in September of 2010. When I arrived the staff was wonderful. Not only were they professional, they had a sense of humor and calmed my first time jitters. The process, lasting up to 2 hours, was truly a simple process where my concerns were met. I was able to watch Television; later WiFi was introduced, giving me time to read e-books, watch videos , listen to music and keep up with emails. In subsequent visits, I signed up for the donor registry, in which, after I pass on, I can still help out.
Since 2010, I have found, from Unyts new donor website, unytsblooddonor.org, that I have donated platelets 70 times. I really was surprised when I found out that I donated that much. To me, the donations every two weeks have become a regular part of my life. I have viewed the staff at Southgate as people who share the same goals as I do; to help those who are cancer patients. I am not skilled in cancer research; I am not a health care professional who aids cancer patients in treatment. I am only a donor, that in some small way, can contribute to helping in the fight against cancer and its destructive nature.
Headquartered in downtown Buffalo and established in 1981.
Unyts is among the leading procurement organizations in the United States, and is one of the only eight centers nationwide to house organ, tissue and eye procurement in one location. With the addition of Community Blood Service, Unyts has become the first organization of its kind nationwide. Unyts operates as a non-profit serving the eight counties of Western New York and works to assist donor families, coordinate the donation process and increase knowledge and awareness within the community regarding transplantation.
Unyts routinely has helped to secure higher rates of donation in Western New York than the national average. When approached following the death of a loved-one for organ donation, Western New York families are very generous. In 2014 the Unyts conversion rate was 81.5%– the national average was 63.2%. Due to these numbers, Unyts is ranked as one of the top procurement organizations nationwide. As recently as 1997, Unyts had just 200 donors; in 2014 the organization surpassed 1,200.
The organization’s network and success have gone hand-in-hand, and as a result, Unyts has been able to spread the message that transplantation is vital – and transplantation saves lives. Unyts is currently headed by President & CEO Mark Simon, and Chair of the Board of Directors David Carlson.
*As of January 1, 2012, Unyts operates under, d/b/a Unyts, WNY’s only Organ, Eye, Tissue and Community Blood Center. We are no longer Upstate NY Transplant Services.
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