ECMC News & Articles

Unyts, ECMC Kick-Off Donate Life Month

Joint effort to raise organ donation awareness, encourage our community to register as donors, and celebrate the generosity of those who have given the gift of life

The Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation & Kidney Care at ECMC is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to comprehensive patient care. Unyts is Western New York’s only organ, eye, tissue and community blood center. Together, Unyts and ECMC have teamed up to launch “Donate Life Month.” New York State currently has the second lowest donor registry rate in the United States. ECMC and Unyts continue to collaborate and concentrate on increasing the community’s knowledge and understanding about the need for donation and transplantation.

Unyts President and CEO Mark Simon said, “During the entire month of April, Unyts will be encouraging the community to learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation and the impact it has on thousands of New Yorkers. Together with the Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation & Kidney Care, Unyts is working to save and enhance lives in our community every day. Unyts is proud of our work and for the relationship we have with ECMC, which is such a vital part of WNY.”

ECMC President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche, Jr., Ph.D. said, “ECMC has a long, mutually beneficial partnership with Unyts, helping to increase donor awareness and emphasize the enduring benefit of making critically needed organ donations. Thanks to the dedication and expertise of the clinicians in ECMC’s Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation & Kidney Care, we achieved in 2018 the highest number of kidney transplants (144) ever at the hospital and we’re on track to exceed that volume in 2019. Further, ECMC now has the shortest wait time for kidney transplants at any hospital in the country ( and our transplantation program continues to perform with consistently high scores in outcomes and transplant rates from deceased donors, and minimally invasive nephrectomy – procedures to promote faster recovery for living kidney donors, while also providing lifesaving care for those patients with kidney disease in our community.”

New York has the third highest need for donors in the country, yet the second lowest percentage of registered donors. Out of the approximately 9,500 New Yorkers on the waiting list, over 1,700 have been waiting for life saving and improving transplants for more than 5 years. Each year, an estimated 500 men, women and children in the state die because to the shortage of donors.

The Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation and Kidney Care at ECMC is the result of the merging of two transplant programs—from Buffalo General Hospital and ECMC – into a single streamlined, highly specialized program that offers patients world class care. The mission of the Center is to provide life-saving kidney and pancreas transplants, vascular access surgical care, hemodialysis for outpatients and inpatients, and treatment and disease management services for patients with all stages of chronic kidney disease. This concentration of services results in a greater number of procedures performed, a high level of expertise among the medical staff, and the most favorable outcomes for renal patients at all levels of care. With state-of-the-art technology and procedures for transplant, as well as a growing living donor program, ECMC’s transplantation team is leading the way in True Care.

These life-saving transplants are only possible through the support of Unyts’ and ECMC’s physician partners, community organizations and the generous people of WNY.

Unyts encourages everyone to commit to becoming a donor by visiting and completing a simple enrollment form, or by visiting your local Auto Bureau.

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ABOUT ERIE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER (ECMC) CORPORATION: The ECMC Corporation was established as a New York State Public Benefit Corporation and since 2004 has included an advanced academic medical center with 573 inpatient beds, on- and off-campus health centers, more than 30 outpatient specialty care services and Terrace View, a 390-bed long-term care facility. ECMC is Western New York’s only Level 1 Adult Trauma Center, as well as a regional center for burn care, behavioral health services, transplantation, medical oncology and head & neck cancer care, rehabilitation and a major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the university and/or members of a private practice plan. More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and patient experiences – the difference between healthcare and true care.

ABOUT UNYTS: 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.

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