April is National Donate Life Month

Updated: 4/4/2014

April is National Donate Life Month. Established in 2003 and recognized throughout the United States, National Donate Life Month works to raise awareness of organ, eye, tissue and blood donation while celebrating the generosity of those who have given the Gift of Life to others.

To read a news story published about how a local woman chose to donate her son's organs after he passed away this week, click here: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/medical/in-death-toddler-gives-others-a-second-chance-at-life-20140331

As the region's only organ, eye, tissue and community blood center, Unyts is responsible for saving and enhancing lives through donation and transplantation. For more than 30 years, Unyts has worked with Western New York hospitals, including Kaleida Health, to increase the community's knowledge and understanding about the need for organ, tissue and blood donation.

As the federally designated organ procurement organization for Western New York, Unyts coordinates the donation process when a potential donor is identified within a Kaleida Health hospital. Since 2007, Unyts has been the primary supplier of blood products to Kaleida Health. Kaleida Health holds regular blood drives to ensure there is blood available for the patients who need it. It is vital that Unyts and Kaleida Health maintain a collaborative partnership to further donation and transplantation and ensure that we continue to save lives in our community.

Currently in the United States there are over 120,000 individuals awaiting a life-saving transplant, and many thousands more in need of tissue and cornea transplants. Sadly, an average of 18 patients die every day simply because the organ they needed did not become available in time. In regards to blood donation, one in three people will need blood at some point during their lifetime, but only one in 33 are regular blood donors.

The Gift of Life comes in many different ways through many different stories, personalities, lives and backgrounds. A single organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people by donating their heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestines. One tissue donor can improve the lives of more than 50 people by donating eyes, bone, soft tissue, heart valves, veins and skin.

Kaleida Health urges employees to consider donating blood at an upcoming blood drive. In taking just 45 minutes of your time to donate one unit of blood, you have the opportunity to save up to three lives through the different life-saving elements of your donation.

Become an organ, eye, tissue and community blood donor. It does matter. Visit www.unyts.org for more information.