Grateful “Kidney Sister” leaves $15,000 donation to Gift of Life

pat at the zoo

Shelly Robinet and her best friend Pat Folkertsma-Garrett called each other Kidney Sisters after Shelly donated a kidney to Pat in 2001.
Their car license plates read KIDSTER1 and KIDSTER2: “Pat would say we’re closer than sisters because we shared a body part,” Shelly said.

Pat struggled with kidney disease her whole life and received three gifted kidneys before she died in September. Pat left a gift of her own: More than $15,000 to Gift of Life Michigan — one of the largest the organization has received. The money will pay to educate communities about donation and fund critical work to grow the سجل ميشيغان للمانحين.

“It’s so heartwarming. Pat had multiple organ transplants and she wanted to pay it forward. We’re incredibly grateful,” said Susan Rink, director of advancement for Gift of Life. “The money she left will save more lives by helping us add more names to the Donor Registry.
“You don’t have to be a millionaire to make a significant difference.”

Pat was 17 when she received her first kidney transplant, from her big brother, Tim Folkertsma, now 73. A second transplant followed 14 years later, from a generous deceased donor.

Pat, who lived in Grandville southwest of Grand Rapids, had an active life, thanks to her gifts. She was once crowned a rodeo queen, she refereed high school volleyball and participated in the Transplant Games of America.

“She was a national racquetball champion,” Tim said, “with my kidney, I might add.”

Pat was a generous volunteer, too, giving her time to Gift of Life and other nonprofits.

“She felt like she was an ambassador for organ donation,” Shelly said. “She knew it made such a difference not just for her, but for so many other people.”

Susan said estate gifts usually come from people who don’t seek much recognition: “They quietly help an organization that either made a difference to them or to a cause that inspires them. Organ and tissue donation is pretty easy to get behind.”

To make a financial gift in support of Gift of Life’s mission, go to golm.org/contribute.

أو اكتب شيكًا إلى:
هدية الحياة ميشيغان
3861 ريسيرش بارك د.
آن أربور ، MI 48108

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