June 04, 2015
Maddy Zmuda wanted to become a blood donor since she was only 12 years old, but she had to wait four long years until she was eligible. When her 16th birthday finally arrived, she went to Unyts’ Southgate Neighborhood Blood Donation Center to give her first blood donation. This was much more important than getting her driver’s permit. “I truly believe that there is no better present than to give a present,” Maddy explained. “I saved three lives, and that was the best birthday present ever. It was a great experience, and the nurses were awesome, too!” She first learned about blood donation in elementary school.
“I had two teachers, Mr. Schreiner and Mr. Rodemeyer, whose wives had needed blood transfusions. Both of my teachers gave blood and told their students all about it,” Maddy explained. “I knew that blood donation helped a lot of people, so I knew I wanted to start donating when I turned 16.” Making a difference in her community is very important to Maddy. She plans to become a regular blood donor and she wants to register as an organ donor, too. She talks to her friends and classmates about blood donation through school and social media because she wants them to know that it’s an easy way to help others.
“Giving blood doesn’t hurt, it only takes a few minutes, and the best part is that the blood stays local,” she said. “The next time I donate, one of my friends is coming with me to donate for the first time. I’m counting down the 56 days until I can donate again!”
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.
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110 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14203