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Artelia Griggs, donor mother, receiving an award from Christine Peiter, Gift of Life employee and tissue graft recipient
Donor mother Artelia Griggs received the Multicultural Champion Award from Gift of Life's Christine Peiter at the 2023 Champions Gala.

The annual Champions Gala has recognized more than 100 people and organizations supporting organ, eye and tissue donation at the highest level in Michigan since the event began in 2019.

The awards represent every aspect of the donation process from efforts to grow the Michigan Organ Donor Registry to incredible work at schools, hospitals, transplant centers and more.

Gift of Life will host its sixth Champions Gala on Thursday, April 4, 2024 in the Legacy Ballroom at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

Gift of Life’s most emotional and inspiring event will expand in 2024 with greater sponsorship and partnership opportunities and higher attendance.

A group of well-dressed guests at a fancy dinner.
About 250 people were in attendance for the 2023 Champions Gala in Dearborn. In 2024, Gift of Life is offering tickets to individuals or groups for the first time.

2024 Champion Award Recipients

Congratulations to the individuals and organizations who will be honored on April 4 for their outstanding work in organ and tissue donation and transplantation statewide.

The following winners will be invited to the sixth Gift of Life Michigan Champions Gala at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. We can’t wait to hold up their incredible work to promote or make donation happen in Michigan.

The champion award winners are:

  • Check Your Heart – Rachael Eubanks, State Treasurer and Jeff Guilfoyle, Chief Deputy Treasurer, Lansing
  • Legislative Partner – Rep. Felicia Brabec, Pittsfield Township/Ann Arbor
  • Secretary of State – Laura Lehman, Lansing
  • Community Partner – Dr. John Stanifer and Molly Stanifer, Grand Rapids
  • Volunteer – Chris Kowalski, Grandville
  • Taking Initiative – Aarolyn McCullough, Oak Park
  • Multicultural Difference Maker – Alena Christian and Alisa Christian, Flint
  • Donation Storyteller – Sherry Johnson, Farmington Hills
  • Educator – Lyniece McNair-Levi, Grand Blanc
  • First Responder – Tim Matz, Rochester Hills Fire Department
  • Nurse – Malinda Herrera, Sparrow Hospital, Lansing
  • Physician – Dr. Adhnan Mohamed, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit


  • Donation Liaison – Eric Jean, Munson Medical Center, Traverse City
  • Hospital Staff/Other – Denise Lindeman, Corewell Health Beaumont Troy Hospital
  • Hospital Executive Leader – Dr. Stephen Fitch, Corewell Health West, Grand Rapids
  • Innovation – Dr. Tim Frankel, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor
  • Medical Examiner – Drs. Stephen Cohle and David Start, Kent County Medical Examiner, Grand Rapids
  • Funeral Professional – Tom Buist, The Dodge Company, Grand Rapids
  • Transplant Center Professional – Krista Veine, Corewell Health West, Grand Rapids
  • Honoring Life Through Donation – Jill Soave, Oxford
  • Legacy – Patty Jo Herndon, Michigan Donor Family Council
  • Hospital of the Year – Munson Medical Center

The deadline to purchase tickets for the Champions Gala has passed. Inquiries about tickets and sponsorship opportunities should be directed to Susan Rink at [email protected].

“We simply want to draw as many people as we can so they can experience it.”

Susan Rink, director of advancement, Gift of Life Michigan

Susan Rink, director of advancement

Many blue and green, rounded glass awards with black pedestals sit on a table waiting to be presented.

“It is our honor to play a part in celebrating Gift of Life’s donation successes by supporting the Champions Gala. Without a doubt, it is one of our favorite events!”

John Bruens, CEO, Global Transplant Solutions

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