September 26, 2017
In 2017, Unyts is celebrating 10 years as Western New York’s only community blood bank. In that decade, tens of thousands of people have donated blood with Unyts. Some donors, including Rich Scott of Lockport, have been with us since the beginning.
For Rich, a decade of giving blood with Unyts fits into a long pattern of assisting others. “In 1971, I started working with emergency services and ambulance organizations,” he said. Rich trained at Erie Community College as a first responder, earned his paramedic’s license, and worked with ambulance services in Niagara Falls, Lockport and Buffalo. He is now a safety supervisor. “I've always helped people... I just help whenever I can."
Rich recalls radio and TV ads promoting Unyts blood service when it first began in 2007. His work as a paramedic gave him firsthand knowledge of the local need for blood. But the fact that he has a daughter who works for Unyts may have also encouraged him to donate. In the past ten years, he’s given many times.
“I'm trying to pay it forward. A few minutes for a blood donation is, to me, a real easy way to pay it forward,” Rich said. “Plus the staff treat me real well. We have a lot of laughs and the snacks aren't bad either.”
I've always helped people... I just help whenever I can.
Rich was the first to give platelets when Unyts set up pheresis collections at DeGraff Memorial Hospital in 2009. (Platelets are currently collected at Unyts’ four neighborhood blood donation centers.) He’s donated at many sites over the years, and likes that Unyts has multiple locations, buses and mobile blood drives. "The accessibility of facilities to donate with Unyts is really convenient,” he said. “There are a lot of places you can give."
Rich encourages others to give blood and it’s important to him that blood donated to Unyts stays in the area, helping local patients. “I really hammer that home,” he said. “I do my best to promote it.”