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Buffalo, NY - ECMC Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Michael A. Young, M.H.A., F.A.C.H.E., joined with supporters of The Gift of Life in the ECMC main lobby this morning to launch Donation Awareness Month. "When you consider the skill involved in successful transplantation operations and the fact that they are almost always life-saving procedures, I am most pleased with the role Erie County Medical Center plays in the region both as a transplant center and advocate of organ and tissue donation," stated Young.

ECMC is one of two transplant centers in Western New York - and in conjunction with other regional hospitals and Upstate New York Transplant services - the hospital helped secure an 82% consent to organ donation rate in 2006 - which is roughly 30% higher than the national average.

Joining Mr. Young at the launch were Darlene Aymerich, Manager of Family Services at Upstate New York Transplant Services, Scott Swartot, a 2004 kidney recipient, and donor parents Ron & Veronica Orlowski. Darlene Aymerich is a part of three generations of donation. In 1993, Darlene became a living donor when she gave a kidney to her brother. Darlene became a donor mother in 1996 when her daughter Shannon was killed in a motor vehicle accident and became an organ, tissue and eye donor - and Darlene is now a donor daughter as her mother donated her eyes after passing in 2005. Ron and Veronica Orlowski's son Joe became an organ donor after dying in a car accident on the 33 expressway in 1996, and Scott Swartot received a kidney in 2004 after being on dialysis for three years. Ron, Veronica and Scott all are volunteers for Upstate New York Transplant Services.

"Our organization is about supporting those and the families of those who give The Gift of Life and furthering the message that transplantation is vital and transplantation saves lives. With all the region's hospitals as our partners - that charge is made easier and the response we have had in the community is a direct result of efforts on all fronts and speaks as a whole to the generosity of Western New York," added Darlene Aymerich, Manager of Family Services at Upstate New York Transplant Services.

Currently, there are over 95,000 individuals awaiting critical transplant in the United States - with nearly 500 in Western New York alone. A single donor, however, can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people.

The ECMC Corporation includes an advanced academic medical center (ECMC) with 550 inpatient beds and 136 skilled-nursing-home beds, on- and off-campus health centers, over 40 outpatient specialty care clinics and the Erie County Home, a 586-bed skilled nursing facility. ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, rehabilitation and is a major teaching facility for the State University of New York at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the University. Exceptional patient care and customer service make ECMC Western New York's Hospital of Choice.

Headquartered in Buffalo and established in 1981, Upstate New York Transplant Services is among the leading procurement organizations in the United States, and is one of the only centers nationwide to house laboratory services, and organ, tissue and eye procurement in one location. Upstate New York Transplant Services operates as a non-profit serving the eight counties of Western New York and is part of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It works to assist donor families, coordinate the donation process and increase knowledge and awareness within the community regarding organ, tissue and eye donation.

For media inquiries (UNYTS) please contact: Matt Burke at 716.512.7902 (o) 716.982.6768 (c) or mburke@unyts.org

For media inquiries (ECMC) please contact Joe Cirillo at 716.898.4300 or jcirillo@ecmc.edu

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