March 05, 2015
Curiosity is what began my involvement with donating blood to Unyts. I first found out about Unyts during my senior year of high school through the Donate Life program. However, donating blood was the furthest thing from my mind as I have always had a huge fear of needles. Instead, I signed up to be an organ donor when I turned 18. A couple of years later I saw a flyer for an upcoming drive at my work. It was my curiosity to find out my blood type that finally made me take the plunge and donate blood.
That first time, I found out my hemoglobin levels were too low to donate. That didn’t deter me because I was on a mission to donate. The Unyts staff was so friendly and relaxing that I decided to go to their next mobile location to donate. They calmed my fear of needles and made it as painless as possible. When it was over, I left happy, knowing that the blood I just donated could help save the lives of up to 3 people in WNY. Now I donate whenever I am able, even though my fear of needles remains. I enjoy traveling to Unyts different mobile sites to donate whether it is by work, school, my house or just somewhere because I feel like it. No matter where I go, the people are friendly, calming, and can even hold a good conversation too.
Though the curiosity has disappeared, I still donate. I donate because there are people in need and I know I can help make a difference. I donate in honor of my mom, grandma, and aunt: all of whom have had cancer. I donate because I enjoy interacting with people who are passionate about saving lives. I hope that I will never need a blood transfusion, but I know that life is unpredictable, so I donate in the hopes that I can encourage others to do the same. I donate because I can.
For more information about becoming a blood donor and a list of our Neighborhood Blood Donation Centers, please visit this page.
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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110 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14203