April 08, 2015
Carol Wittman never thought that her family would be touched by organ donation until her husband’s liver began to fail eight years ago. After seeing how many blood transfusions her husband needed to survive, she realized just how important blood donation is.
“It really hit home when I realized how many people had to donate to save my husbands life,” Carol said. “I felt almost obligated to start donating blood after we went through this. I really should have donated before, too, but I needed this wake-up call to really understand how important blood donation is.”
Carol and her husband, who recently celebrated the 8th anniversary of his liver transplant, always thank others for donating when they go to blood drives together. “We want people to understand what their donation means to people like us,” she explained.
Both blood donation and organ donation have become very important parts of Carol’s life. “I wear a Donate Life bracelet all the time, and it always reminds me that someone somewhere is undergoing a blood transfusion or organ transplant,” she said. “We also keep all the doctors and families involved in these procedures in our hearts at church. We don’t know who donated my husband’s liver, but we think of them and their family every day.”
Carol has some words of advice for people thinking about donating blood for the first time, too. “Take someone with you in case you feel woozy after donating,” she said. “And take the time to talk to other people who are giving blood to hear their stories. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to donate! Giving blood takes no time at all, you can do it at any age, and your donation is welcome no matter what blood type you have. Blood is very much needed, and I have yet to see blood sold at Wal-Mart!”
It’s easy to become an organ, tissue or blood donor! Click here to find out how to become an organ and tissue donor, and click here for a list of our community blood donation centers.
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