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Gift of Life Michigan to honor 18 champions of organ and tissue donation across the state

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Winners will be recognized at April 5 celebration

Gift of Life Michigan Donate Life Champions Gala logoGift of Life Michigan has chosen 15 individuals and three hospitals to receive 2019 Donation Champion Awards, recognizing their extraordinary efforts to help fulfill the wishes of donors and their families and promote the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

These are the first such awards given formally by Michigan’s federally designated organ recovery program.

“Gift of Life is absolutely thrilled to host – for the first time – an event that will shine a light on the best of the best in the important work that’s carried out every day to save and transform lives through organ and tissue donation,” CEO Dorrie Dils said.

The winners are:

  • Secretary of State employee: Amy Vandegriff, Special Assistance Unit Technician, Lansing
  • Volunteer: Amogh Gowda, Junior at Troy High School
  • Community partner: Tom and Kelly Moran, Owners, Art Moran Buick GMC, Southfield
  • First responder: Michael Lubig (posthumously), Detroit Firefighter and organ donor, Detroit
  • Hospital PR/marketing: John Foren, Spokesperson, Media and Public Relations, Sparrow Health System, Lansing
  • Hospital executive leader: Dr. Michael Jaggi, Chief Medical Officer, Hurley Medical Center, Flint
  • Medical Examiner: Dr. Jeff Jentzen, Medical Examiner, Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor
  • Nurse: Julia McLean, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor
  • Physician: Dr. Panayiotis Varelas, Neurologist, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit
  • Donation Liaison: Adam Mencarelli, Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids
  • Hospital Spiritual Care: Corey Kennard, Pastor, Ascension St. John, Detroit
  • Social Worker: Susan Walker, Social Worker, Multi-Organ Transplant Program, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
  • Funeral Director: Timothy Schramm, Funeral Director, Howe-Peterson Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Dearborn
  • Transplant center professional: Amy Van Stone, Pre Transplant Coordinator, Harper University Hospital/DMC, Detroit
  • Innovation Award: Ascension Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo
  • Honoring Life Through Donation Award: Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn
  • Donor hospital of the year: St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
  • Lifetime achievement award: Mary Johnson, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

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  • As the state’s only federally designated organ donor program, Gift of Life Michigan is the intermediary between donors, their families and hospital staff. Gift of Life, in collaboration with Eversight, provides all services necessary for organ, tissue and eye donation.
  • More than 3,000 patients in Michigan are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
  • Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, regardless of age or health history. To sign up, visit golm.org or call 866.500.5801.