September 08, 2016
I have been donating blood for about three years. I started out donating through another organization, but I had a difficult time, as I was poked and prodded multiple times during each donation. The last time I donated there the technician tried 9 times before the site manager came out and said I had been through enough and could go home. I felt since the donation process was so painful, I would have to stop donating
I went to a Unyts drive at Ralph Wilson Stadium with my daughter and granddaughter. I was very impressed by the professionalism, kindness, and courtesy shown by the Unyts staff. I felt it was time for me to consider donating regularly again. I wanted to donate platelets again, as it gave me the opportunity to donate more often. I have family members and friends who have had health issues and had benefitted by others who had given life-saving blood. It was the least I could do to honor the gift that was given to them. Being able to donate every two weeks meant I could make more of a difference. I decided to give it a try.
During my first platelet donation, I could not believe that only one arm was needed for the donation – both arms had always been needed when I donated with the other organization. I was told the steps of the process, had all my questions answered, and was made very comfortable. I am literally treated like a queen every time I donate. I get the use of a heating pad, a blanket made by Eastern Hills manager Colleen, my choice of beverage and snack. Colleen even told me to bring a coffee mug from home and it is kept there for use during my donations.
The donation process is like spending time with friends. The staff is composed of wonderful, truly caring people who love their work. I know all about their families and they always ask about mine. I look forward to each donation! I do my best to go every two weeks. My husband has now become a Unyts donor too. Giving platelets is my small contribution to those who may have a need.
Written by Maureen Szczepanski, Unyts Blood Donor
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