Karen’s Hairem helps donor cause

Karen’s Hairem successfully raised awareness about organ donation throughout April and also raised money for Upstate New York Transplant Services.

Owner of Karen’s Hairem, Karen George, said the month-long event was a success.

“We had a few people come in who needed some time to think about becoming a donor. One of my customers said she needed to think about it and called me the next day to say she wanted to sign up because she knows someone awaiting a liver transplant. Some people needed some time to think it over and others signed up right away. We managed to sign up six or seven people,” she said.

George decided to celebrate the month of April as Organ Donor Awareness month at her business, because of the cause’s significance to her family.

“My husband Jeff has always had problems with his kidneys since he was 12. When he was 20 his dad (Fred George from Silver Creek) donated a kidney to him. That lasted him 20 years and then he did peritoneal dialysis for about eight months. Then we got a call on Christmas Eve in 1998 and he got a kidney from a donor on Christmas Day,” she explained.

George has also met many other members of the community who have needed transplants.

Cindy Sheedy, winner of a hair product basket and customer of George’s, said she has been a donor for a long time and it is a cause she “firmly believes in.”

“I compliment Karen, after what she has been through with Jeff, and for what she does to promote the cause as well,” she said.

Barbara Adamczak, winner of a Pyrex set donated by Alumni Hall for the event and longtime customer of George’s, said she was already a donor before the event.

“It was a great event,” she added.

The event allowed people who signed up to be organ donors, were already donors or donated to UNYTS to enter a raffle to win prizes donated by local businesses.

George said raised $200 for UNYTS and had several people sign up to be donors.

“I am just really happy we were able to spread awareness of this issue and raise some money for UNYTS. I just mailed out the donation,” she said.

Winners of the prizes include: Ashley Gagola, Sue Erick, Diane Ferguson, Jan Callin, Fadua Farat, Mary-ann Watson, Cathy Ullman, Jan Dorman, Samantha Hall, Debbie Burgman, Ad-amczak, Ruth Dorogi, Walt Drag, Crystal Erhart, Ronnie Thompson, Sheedy, Ethel Stanton, Allison Heaney and Thomas Lawson.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support and thank all the businesses that donated goods to help us out,” George added.

Businesses who donated including A & A Beauty Supplies, Fresh and Fancy Flowers and Gifts, Inner Balance Day Spa, the White Inn, Thrive Nutrition, Evans & Evans LLP, M & R Greenhouse, Herbs for Life, DeJohn’s Spaghetti House, Liberty Vineyards, Upper Crust Bakery and P’Dubs.

According to the UNYTS website, nationwide there are approximately 117,000 people waiting for a transplant, locally that number is between 300 and 500 people.

One donor can save up to 50 people in need of a transplant.

According the website, anyone over 18 can donate organs where age and health conditions do not automatically disqualify a person from being a donor.

There is a nationwide shortage of organs for donation; however the process for signing up is easy and confidential. To become an organ donor log onto unyts.org/get-involved/donor-regisrty/.

“You don’t know whose life you are going to save or even improve someone’s life like through cornea donation for someone who cannot see. You never know it could be one of your family members one day who needs a transplant,” George said.

UNYTS is located in Buffalo and 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. 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.

Karen’s Hairem is located at 52 West Main St., Fredonia. To contact call 679-4247.