December 01, 2014
After lake effect snow from “Winter Storm Knife” buried much of Western New York and disrupted collections, Unyts put out a call for blood donors. Erin Collins was among the many people who gave and helped meet a critical need.
“So many people carried out acts of kindness during that storm, helping neighbors and complete strangers alike. The least I could do was donate blood,” Erin said.
Erin lives in one of the areas hit hard by the storm, and had been stuck at home from the night of Nov. 17th until the morning of the 20th. “The snow was so high, it blocked the door and it took my landlord that long to dig me out. It then took another two days to dig out the rest of the driveway to get to the street and my car.”
On Nov. 24, she read on Twitter about the emergency need for donors. Erin has given blood for several years, and she headed to the Eastern Hills Mall Blood Donation Center to give again.
Asked what she’d tell people considering donation, Erin said, “What are you waiting for?! It's a very helpful way to give back to those in need.”
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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