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Giving others a brighter tomorrow through recovery and placement of eyes, organs and tissues.
Our History: Yesterday and today
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Rochester/Finger Lakes Eye & Tissue Bank (RETB/FLETB) was founded in 1952 as the Rochester Eye-Bank and Research Society by the Downtown Lions Club and originally functioned solely as an eye bank. In 1968 the agency broadened its educational focus to include all organs and tissues and adopted the name of Rochester Eye and Human Parts Bank, Inc. to reflect wording of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. The agency began recovering other tissue in the mid-1980s to meet community need for advancing technologies in tissue transplantation applications.
Today, the agency recovers, processes, preserves and distributes eyes and other tissue for transplant, research and medical education; teaches about tissue and organ donation through its public and professional awareness programs; funds transplant-related medical research; and maintains the Regional Donor Pledge Registry.
Trained and certified RETB/FLETB tissue bank staff recover ocular, musculoskeletal, skin and cardiovascular tissues. Tissue bank coordinators then process, preserve and distribute this tissue for transplant, research and medical education.
Public and professional awareness programs educate individuals about the need for and the benefits of donation. Volunteers and staff accomplish this by participating in health fairs and community events. RETB/FLETB’s school curriculum introduces grades 5 through college level to the field of donation and transplantation.
Healthcare professionals are educated through programs conducted by RETB/FLETB staff. These programs provide information regarding identification of potential eye and tissue donors and required training for discussion of donation options with families.
Annual funding to investigators for transplant-related medical research projects has been a program of the agency since 1955. This ensures continued advances in organ and tissue transplantation and in the treatment of underlying diseases.
The agency is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization serving the New York counties of Monroe, Livingston, Seneca, Yates, Wayne, Steuben, Schuyler, and Ontario as well as North Central Pennsylvania.
In 2001, the agency began serving the NY counties of Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Tioga and Tompkins under the name of Finger Lakes Eye & Tissue Bank.
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