May 04, 2015
When Josette Saia was 13, her mother received her first of two kidney transplants. Unfortunately, her body rejected the first kidney but the second lasted until her mother passed away ten years later. “It was great that my mom was no longer confined to dialysis three times a week, “ Josette said. Her mother’s experience inspired her to become an organ and blood donor.
“Before the organ donor registry existed, I always signed the back of my driver’s license,” Josette explained. “I also talked to my family so they would know what I wanted if something happened to me.”
Josette started donating blood at her church’s lawn fete one year. When she saw a mobile blood drive set up at the fete, she decided to donate on a whim. Ever since then, she has donated at the same lawn fete every year and at many other local blood drives. Over the past six months, Josette has also become a regular platelet donor the Southgate Neighborhood Donation Center. Josette’s sister and niece are also regular donors.
“Donating blood is painless, doesn’t take any time at all, and helps so many people,” she said. “Lately I’ve been thinking about volunteering at blood drives, too. I think that if your life has been touched by organ or blood donation, and you have the ability to give back, why wouldn’t you? You never know when you or a member of your family may need a transfusion.”
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