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  • Writer's pictureKidney Foundation of WNY

Organ Donation Awareness Event and Blood Drive will Honor Local Mason

The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons Community Service Committee and the Blood and Organ Donor Committee, in cooperation with the Kidney Foundation of WNY and ConnectLife, will present the first annual Gary Garippo Memorial Blood Drive and Organ Donor Awareness event on Saturday, January 7.

Gary Garippo was a Master Mason with Ken-Ton Lodge #1147 and a member of the Ismailia Shriners. After being diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, Garippo learned that he was nearing kidney failure. He shared his story through and Masonic newsletters in hopes of finding a living kidney donor. Several fellow Masons offered their assistance. In September 2014, Garippo received a kidney donated by Ed Draves, a member of West Seneca Lodge #1111 and Western Star #1185. The transplant took place at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester and both the donor and recipient recovered quickly. In the years that followed, Garippo and Draves took part in programs to raise awareness about organ donation and transplantation.

More than 105,000 people in the U.S. are currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, including more than 8,200 New Yorkers. The kidney is the most transplanted organ and the most needed.

There is also an ongoing need for blood donation. Every day, Western New Yorkers need blood, including individuals with traumatic injuries, those fighting cancer, people with blood disorders, surgery patients, and mothers who have given birth.

Gary Garippo passed away on August 3, 2022. His family and fellow Masons wish to honor his legacy by helping others. The memorial blood drive and organ donor awareness event will take place at Western Star Lodge #1185 (692 Ridge Rd, Lackawanna, NY 14218) on Saturday, January 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event will include information on living kidney donation and will highlight the stories of several people currently in need of transplant. Blood donation appointments are available through (sponsor code 001301) and walk-ins are also welcome.

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