Unyts urges WNY to donate blood for local patients in local hospitals
Drives for TODAY- November 21,2014
Drives for TOMORROW – November 22, 2014
Drives for MONDAY, November 24, 2014
Drives for TUESDAY, November 25, 2014
As snow continued to make travel impossible in parts of Western New York, Unyts closed the blood donation center at Southgate Plaza on Wednesday and the Tonawanda Neighborhood Blood Donation Center today (Nov. 20). However, our work as Western New York’s only organ, eye, tissue and community blood center never stops.
Our operations continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Even in inclement weather conditions, Unyts never completely closes.
The need for blood is constant. Once the storm clears and it is safe to travel, you can make an appointment to donate through our website or by calling 716-512-7940.
Below are a few photos showing some of the effect of the storm on South Buffalo.
Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association also notes:
“Our goal for American Diabetes Month and beyond is to show Americans that it’s not too late to start living a healthy active lifestyle and you can even have fun while doing it,” the organization said. Recipes and tips are available at diabetesforecast.org/adm.
The National Diabetes Education Program is encouraging people to control the “ABCs” of diabetes: the A1C test (which measures your average blood sugar level), blood pressure, cholesterol and stop smoking.
Organ, eye, tissue and blood donation saves and enhances lives. Unyts is planning to share the stories of people waiting for organs and those who have received transplants and transfusions. Are you waiting? Is a close friend or family member waiting? Have you or a loved one benefitted from the donations of others? Let us know.
As we encourage more people to give blood and to join the organ donor registry, Unyts has found that the best way to reach them by showing how donations are helping people right here in Western New York.
If you or someone you’re close to is waiting or was helped by donated blood, tissue or organs, and you’re comfortable sharing your story publicly, please fill out the short form below and we’ll be in touch.
Faith leaders and religious communities around Western New York are joining Unyts in recognizing National Donor Sabbath this Nov. 14-16, a time for people of all faiths to honor those who have given the lifesaving and healing gift of organ, eye and tissue donation. Unyts is Western New York’s only organ, eye, tissue and community blood center. Each year, donation and transplant organizations around the country work closely with communities of faith throughout the month of November to bring the message of donation to congregations and encourage all to register as donors.
For many, faith plays an important role in the decision to register as a donor. All major religions support donation and believe it to be the ultimate act of kindness and generosity. Click here to read about different religions’ views on donation.
With more than 123,000 individuals on the national transplant waiting list, registering as a donor today can provide hope to those desperately waiting for the gift of life and potentially save lives in the future.
Unyts will host a National Donor Sabbath celebration on Nov. 11 from 5-7 p.m. at 110 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14203. The event will include a tour of Unyts and presentations from families of organ transplant donors and recipients. Click here for information on registering for the free event.
Barbara Breckenridge of Buffalo is one of the winners of the Chris Klug Foundation’s first annual Bounce Back Award, presented by Astellas. The award recognizes two transplant recipients who exhibit a great quality of life. The two winners announced on Nov. 3 were selected from among 75 nominees hailing from 27 states.
Barb is a 15-year kidney transplant recipient. Since being given a second chance at life, she has dedicated her life to advocating for organ and tissue donation.
Barb provides peer counseling for dialysis patients, transplant patients and their families, and individuals who have been newly-diagnosed with kidney disease. She facilitates a kidney support group at Erie County Medical Center, and has done many radio and television appearances promoting the Donate Life cause.”
Breckenridge has also won over 31 medals at the Transplant Games, and has traveled to Australia, Sweden, and South Africa to compete. Her tireless advocacy embodies the spirit of the Bounce Back Award.
The other winner was David Miller, of Semmes, Ala., who received the liver of a 13-year-old boy who lost his life after a tragic fall. He educates high school students to teach their peers about organ and tissue donation and to register them as donors. David has also won medals at the World Transplant Games and participates in 5K runs.
The winners and one guest each will travel to Aspen, Colo. for the Chris Klug Foundation’s 9th annual Aspen Summit for Life weekend Dec. 5-6. The awards will be presented on top of Aspen Mountain in front of 400 racers and supporters.
“We read so many amazing stories of what is possible after a lifesaving transplant. Picking just two winners was an incredibly difficult task, but we’re so proud of Barbara and David and the way they live their lives,” said CKF Executive Director Beth Slater.
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Barbara and David to my hometown of Aspen to celebrate life together and recognize their volunteerism to help others in the transplant community today,” said Chris Klug, the founder and chairman of CKF.
The Chris Klug Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting lifesaving organ and tissue donation and improving the quality of life for those touched by donation. Information is online at www.chrisklugfoundation.org. For information on the Aspen Summit, visit www.SummitforLife.org.
Shaun Szmak of Buffalo became an eye and tissue donor upon his passing on Dec. 4, 2010. This remembrance was shared by his parents, Colleen and Doug.
Shaun was born prematurely and required a lot of attention. He spent a few months in the hospital due to being born premature. We were told by the doctors that he would most likely be a learning-disabled child, and a small child due to all his issues. Shaun proved them wrong, he grew up to be a very tall man, but yes, he did have some learning issues. Shaun struggled most of his childhood years in school; nothing came easy for him, which was very frustrating for him.
As Shaun got older he loved to use his hands, always making stuff out of wood; that was his love. He was very content with doing these kind of things, building things. Shaun was also very good with working on cars and motorcycles. He was the neighbor kids that everyone would come to to get something fixed. He had a heart of gold and was always willing to help someone.
Growing up, Shaun was a happy child. He was always there for his family and friends, always ready to help someone out. Shaun had a lot of hobbies; baseball, bowing, football, skiing — there wasn’t much he did not try. We called him our little daredevil.
Shaun was a very loving individual, and because of that, when he passed away we felt it was the right thing to do, to donate his tissues. We know in our hearts that is what Shaun would have wanted. He had a heart of gold and the most beautiful eyes.
Shaun has forever changed our lives and we miss him dearly. We know that by donating, Shaun has helped a lot of people.
We truly believe God had a plan for Shaun, and he is in a better world. That helps us cope with the death of our son.
Each month, Unyts pays tribute to organ, eye and tissue donors. It seemed fitting to call this feature “Honoring our Heroes” as these donors are heroes to their families and to the people who have received transplants.
If you would like to nominate a loved one who gave the gift of life, please click the button above. Unyts will contact you when your loved one is chosen for the Hero of the Month.
Many Western New Yorkers know about Unyts’ role in organ, eye, tissue and blood donation, but fewer are aware that Unyts accepts post-natal tissue donations at Mercy Hospital and Sisters of Charity Hospital. The post-natal tissues, including the placenta, can be donated when a cesarean section delivery is planned. The amniotic membrane is then processed into wound-healing grafts.
“These grafts are pretty powerful; they not only have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, they also suppress pain, expedite recovery and reduce scar tissue,” explained Unyts Eye & Tissue Clinical Liaison Bonnie Scioli. “They are often used for burn victims in addition to skin grafts. They enhance the body’s own cellular healing mechanisms.” The amnion is also frequently used in ophthalmic and dental procedures as foundation material for soft tissue regrowth, and as biological dressing on post-operative surgical sites.
Unyts recently talked to two local moms who took part in the program.
“I had two previous spinal surgeries and I had heard that the placenta could be used to help with those surgeries,” said Jill S. “I wanted to give back because I had such a great spinal surgeon that I wanted to help out any way I could.”
“I have a 2-year-old and I’d never heard of the program before, so when I was educated about the benefits of the placenta being donated, it was a no-brainer,” said Kathleen D. “It can be used for so many good things and it’s almost wasteful to not donate. There is no risk and no harm to the baby or the mom.”
The process is safe, simple, painless, free and rewarding:
Safe: The placenta isn’t recovered until after the baby is delivered. The process poses no risk to the mother or baby.
Simple: When a mother consents to the donation, she will answer a series of questions regarding her medical and social history to ensure the safety of the tissue.
Painless: The donation process requires no additional surgical procedure. There is only a routine blood specimen collection.
Free: Any expenses related to donation are paid for by Unyts.
Rewarding: The donation of post-natal tissues can become a priceless gift to change others’ lives for the better.
“We, as moms, are giving life…why not return the favor to help others in need?” Jill asked.
A form for expectant mothers who would like to donate is online at http://www.unyts.org/services/organ-eye-and-tissue-services/placenta-donation-program/.
If you’d like to donate but your physician isn’t a participating member of the Unyts Placenta Donation program, please contact the Unyts Donor Referral Center at (716) 853-6667 ext. 5 to receive further information.
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