Gift of Life Michigan honors donors, recipients and volunteers during national observance
April is National Donate Life Month, designed to raise awareness of the importance of registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor to save and heal lives.
Gift of Life Michigan has spent the month educating people about the donation process, breaking down misconceptions, and honoring donors and recipients.
“I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done and the number of lives we’ve saved through the years,” said Dorrie Dils, President and CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “The need for registered donors is still critical, and we will continue to collaborate with our hospital and transplant center partners to work toward the day when nobody dies waiting for a life-saving gift.”
National Donate Life Month was established in 2003 by Donate Life America, a national advocacy group for organ, eye, and tissue donation.
Organ and tissue donation has been trending up in the U.S. for more than a decade. In 2021, more than 40,000 transplants were performed in the U.S. for the first time. In Michigan, 1,089 organs were transplanted from 429 donors, which represents about a 14% increase in donors over the previous year. Also, 1,464 people donated tissue and more than 250,000 names were added to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
Even so, Dils said more needs to be done to raise awareness about the issue and to encourage more people to add their names to the Donor Registry.
There are more than 100,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ in the U.S., including about 2,500 in Michigan. On average, someone is added to the waiting list every 9 minutes in our country, and as many as 17 people die each day waiting for a transplant. In Michigan, although about 90% of the population support organ and tissue donation, many adults are not yet signed up as donors.
Gift of Life Michigan has invested in new technology to help preserve vital, life-saving organs longer, expanding the potential recipient pool and saving more lives. Gift of Life has also invested heavily in marketing efforts to reach more people and educate them about the good a single donor can do. One donor can save as many as eight lives and provide healing to as many as 75 people with donated tissue. Gift of Life Michigan has also joined the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) in its goal of 50,000 transplants in the country by the year 2026.
“We look forward to a future of saving even more lives by committing to this laudable goal,” Dils said. “The transplant community has always been a collaborative one, and we will all have to work together to make this goal a reality and offer additional hope for healing for the thousands who need it.”