Donate Life Day at the Zoo celebrates organ donors, transplant recipients and life

Donate Life Day at the Zoo flyer

Gift of Life’s largest outreach event returns to the popular John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids on Aug. 13. 

Donate Life Day at the Zoo returns to an in-person event after the primarily virtual platform that was necessary because of Covid-19. 

“We’re really hoping for a crowd. Our event is such a fun way to celebrate the transplant community in western Michigan,” said Dorrie Dils, president & CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “We want to honor donors and encourage everyone who is not signed up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry to Check Your Heart.” 

Sponsored by the Transplant Life Foundation, Spectrum Health and Trinity Health, the zoo event celebrates life and encourages people to sign up on the Donor Registry. Gift of Life Michigan launched the Check Your Heart campaign earlier this year, seeking to add more than one million Michigan residents to the Donor Registry. More than 106,000 patients (about the seating capacity of Michigan Stadium) are waiting for a lifesaving transplant in the U.S. More than 2,400 are waiting in this state.  

Donate Life Day at the Zoo runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Entry Valley, right outside the main entrance. Admission to the zoo is not required to take part in the event, but the first 250 people who register will get a free zoo ticket and a T-shirt.  

The event will feature the Celebration of Life Trail honoring organ, eye and tissue donors and recipients, community resource booths, children’s activities, face painting, food, and more.  

Eric Zane, host of the popular Eric Zane podcast, will emcee and interview donor families, transplant recipients, and others. 

“This is always such an inspiring event,” said Alison Gillum, Gift of Life’s senior community relations coordinator in Grand Rapids. “It’s a great way to celebrate life and life renewed and to honor all those who have provided the gift of life.” 

To register, visit golm.org/DLDZ. 

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