February 03, 2014
I have always had an intense fear of needles and veins. So why would I subject myself to blood donation? Being O negative, my blood type is always in demand, but I was always too afraid to donate.
In May of 2012, Unyts would forever change my family’s life and I would learn the importance of blood donation.
My husband underwent spinal fusion surgery, the surgery was a success and he was released from the hospital. Within the next 24 hours, he would be rushed back to the hospital, barely alive. He has an unknown blood disorder where his blood clots for no reason, he takes Coumadin daily to keep his blood thin and prevent clots. Unfortunately, post operatively he began bleeding internally, his blood too thin to clot at the surgical site. This bleeding caused panic within his body and the loose blood in his abdomen began clotting. We learned on upon being seen in the ER, that he was in kidney and liver failure. He was immediately admitted to the ICU. The doctors were not optimistic.
The next week was a terrifying time for me as my husband fought for his life and I lied to our two young children saying, “Daddy is fine, don’t worry”. I tried making hours in the ICU waiting room seem like an adventure, meanwhile trying to rehearse how I would tell them their father had passed away. He began receiving a variety of blood products, whole blood, platelets and plasma in attempt to reverse the effects of the blood thinners and allow his body to become stable. Two days after arriving in the ER he underwent emergency surgery to remove the loose blood and clots from his abdomen. Another day of a variety of blood products and his kidney function returned, hours later his liver function returned and a week later he was back home with his family on the road to recovery.
The blood donations of others and an amazing staff of doctors and nurses saved my husband’s life. I decided then that I would get over my fear and give back to the very community that saved my husband’s life. I donated for the first time 12/26 at the Tonawanda donation center. I plan to donate on a regular basis and while my fear is still very present, my desire to give the gift of life is stronger!
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.
Official partner of the Buffalo Bills
110 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14203