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Ortt sponsors community blood drive in memory of avid local blood donor


NORTH TONAWANDA — In an effort to boost blood donations during a time when they can be low, Senator Rob Ortt is partnering with Unyts to sponsor a special Community Blood Drive and basket raffle at DeGraff Memorial Hospital. The fourth annual blood drive is in memory of Brandon Kupiec, an avid blood donor who unexpectedly died in June 2013. The North Tonawanda native passed away in his sleep at the age of 20. Brandon's parents organize the blood drive in his honor while helping to raise awareness about the importance of blood, organ and tissue donation. 

The blood drive will take place today, August 3 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Senator Ortt will be donating blood at 3 p.m. All donors will receive 2 free Bisons tickets, a free hot dog lunch, a t-shirt, a sheet of raffle tickets, and a free ice cream cone at Anderson's.

With many holidays falling during the summer season and many people away on vacation, this time of year is challenging for Unyts. The need for blood in Western New York and the entire country is significant. 

One pint of blood can save up to three lives. Anyone who is healthy and 17 years of age or older is urged to donate. Donors can be 16 years old with a signed permission slip. Donors must also weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. All blood types are needed. Accident victims, premature babies, people undergoing cancer treatment, organ recipients, and many others rely on the generosity of blood donors.

A portion of the proceeds from the Memorial Blood Drive benefits the Brandon Kupiec Scholarship program through Orleans/Niagara BOCES. Other partners include DeGraff Memorial Hospital, North Tonawanda High School, North Tonawanda Police and Fire departments, and the North Tonawanda Library.

Walk-ins are welcome, but to schedule a time to donate, call Unyts at 716-512-7940, or visit www.unytsblooddonor.org. Photo ID is required.