June 21, 2016
Unyts, the Ali’s Rally Foundation and Marcena’s Miracles have each awarded scholarships to local students. The applicants shared reflections on what they had learned through their membership in the Donate Life Club.
Nine high school seniors will receive college scholarships in recognition of their commitment to the Donate Life mission. Ethan Wentworth of Allegany-Limestone was awarded a $1,000 Donate Life scholarship. Unyts will also present $500 scholarships to Allison Forness of Allegany-Limestone, Michaela Hoeflich of Iroquois, Elizabeth Pasnik of City Honors, Erika Davidson and Gwendolyn Haffenden of East Aurora, Katherine Grant of Akron, Alyssa Lenhard of Cheektowaga Central, and Hali Peer of Portville Central.
The Ali's Rally Foundation will present two $250 book scholarships. Ali Binga of Starpoint and Jeffrey Anzalone of Williamsville South were selected as the 2016 recipients. The Ali’s Rally Foundation operates in memory of Alison Gerlach, a Williamsville South senior whose life ended in 2003 as a result of a rare disease called Moya Moya. Ali’s family donated her organs, giving the gift of life to others. Ali’s family started Ali’s Rally to honor her memory and continue her legacy. The foundation supports Unyts educational programming.
The Marcena Lozano Donate Life Club Scholarship will be presented to Jacob Lanning of the Stanley G. Falk School. Marcena Lozano was a two-time heart transplant recipient. The fund named in her memory has awarded nearly $146,000 to young transplant patients over the past 10 years, honoring Marcena’s commitment to her education despite her health challenges. This year the fund added a scholarship for a graduating member of the Donate Life Club.
The Donate Life Club is a Unyts-sponsored multi-disciplinary program that allows students to create an educational campaign to increase awareness about organ, eye, tissue and community blood donation among their peers. It is a service and leadership club as well, and provides opportunities for students to earn community service hours. The Donate Life Club, now active in more than 70 local high schools, gives students the opportunity to establish themselves as giving members of the community through the support of blood drives and through blood donation.