Aldenites Lori and Dale Gramza were recently on the WNY Tonight, promoting Andrew’s Army. Tammie Lee is the host on the program on LCTV 1301.
The Gramzas spoke of the importance of organ, tissue, and blood donations and how their personal tragedy turned into the quest to increase awareness.
In 2010, their son, Andrew, lost his life in a tragic car accident at the age of 21.
Andrew was a blood donor and a registered organ donor.
During his extensive stay in the hospital he was the recipient of a large amount of blood. After his passing, the couple wanted to “give back” and organized their first blood drive with Upstate New York Transplant Services. The first blood drive, which was also a basket raffle, raised more donations than they expected. The support of the community was overwhelming and motivated the Gramzas to continue with their mission.
Although Andrew’s organs were too damaged to donate, his heart valves were able to be passed on to help others.
To date, The Gramzas have raised more than $146,000 for Unyts and nearly 3,000 pints of blood have been donated in Andrew’s name. One pint of blood serves three people in need.
In addition to the large blood drive/basket raffle held each year, there have been many Alden student driven fund raisers. Five blood drives are held each year under the Andrew’s Army umbrella.
Both Lori and Dale spoke on how important community support has been and how appreciative they are of the generosity of their neighbors/friends/businesses/Alden Central School District/Unyts.
This year’s basket raffle and blood drive will include the opportunity to donate platelets. It is scheduled for Saturday, June 8th at Alden High School.