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'Holiday Heroes' encourages blood, organ donation

Ashley Hirtzel

Local police, firefighters and first responders in collaboration with Unyts kicked off the Holiday Heroes campaign Tuesday.

The New York State Police, Erie County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Wende Correctional Facility, and area police departments and fire companies will host blood and “Donate Life” registry drives across Western New York as part of the initiative. They will take place throughout December and January.

The drives aim to encourage blood, organ, and tissue donation. New York State Police Lieutenant Kevin Barnas says it’s a critical time of year for the drives.

“I think with the holidays people really truly forget about the need and the importance of donating blood and being an organ donor. Historically we always have a lot of traffic accidents and collisions where people are in need of blood and organ transplants,” said Barnas.      

Buffalo Police Department Lieutenant Steven Nichols says he encourages everyone to donate blood this holiday.

“For us, most recently, one of our officers was on his way home from work and he was on the thruway, and a drunk driver rear ended him. He was rushed to ECMC. They put over 60 units of blood through him to try and stop the bleeding, unfortunately he didn’t make it. But, thank God that the blood was available to try and save his life,” said Nichols.

The list of locations for the Holiday Heroes drives can be found on at Unyts.org.