Monday, December 22, 2014 at 7:30 am
State troopers in Batavia are joining police, firefighters and first responders from agencies across Western New York in the Unyts Holiday Heroes campaign. Agencies will host blood drives in December and January. The events will also include Donate Life Registry drives where they’ll be encouraging the public to sign up to become organ, eye and tissue donors. Unyts is Western New York’s only organ, eye, tissue and community blood center.
Unyts’ Donate Life Express Bus will be set up outside the New York State Police station in Batavia (4525 W. Saile Drive) on Monday, Dec. 22 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Appointments can be made at www.unyts.org or by calling 716-512-7940.
The holidays are generally a time when fewer people give blood, but the need for blood remains.Unyts is the primary provider of blood and platelet products for Kaleida Health, ECMC and all hospitals in Niagara and Wyoming counties. All blood donated through Unyts remains in Western New York.
More than 10,400 New Yorkers are currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Police, firefighters and first responders are urging more people to join the New York State Donate Life Registry. During the Holiday Heroes campaign, several organ recipients are sharing their own stories to encourage others to donate.
Victor Morales, the public information officer for Troop A of the New York State Police, shared the story of his kidney transplant to encourage others to give. Morales was born with only one kidney. In January 2001, he was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and learned he would need a transplant. He joined the waiting list for a short time, but his cousin came forward as a living donor. Morales received a kidney from her on Oct. 4, 2001.
“It’s made me a new man,” Morales said of his transplant. “It gave me a new lease on life and I’ve tried to do what I can to make it worthwhile.” That new lease on life has enabled him to continue his service with the State Police, spend time with his wife and daughters, and perform as an actor in Western New York theaters.
Among the organizations hosting or promoting Unyts drives are: the Erie County Sheriff's Office; New York State Police in Lockport and Batavia; U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Buffalo and Lewiston; the Buffalo Police Department; and fire companies and police departments around the area. A full list of drives is available at www.unyts.org.