Gift of Life Michigan honors champions of donation 

Woman presenting a blue and green glass award to another woman

Fourth annual ceremony celebrates winners statewide

Gift of Life Michigan honored 17 individuals, four partner organizations, and one hospital with 2022 Donation Champion awards, recognizing their extraordinary efforts to help fulfill the wishes of organ and tissue donors and their families. 

The fourth annual Champions Gala kicked off National Donate Life Month, with special tributes to the best of the best in Michigan’s donation and transplant community. “We can’t do it without you. You are our champions at every step along the way,” Dorrie Dils, President and CEO of Gift of Life Michigan told the crowd. “Because of what you do to help Gift of Life honor life through donation, a record 429 patients and their families donated organs last year. Those gifts resulted in nearly 1,100 organs transplanted.  

“Just think of all the patients and their friends and families we touched, like a pebble in a pond,” she added.  

Woman at podium at Gift of Life Champions event, slideshow behind her showing Funeral Professional Champion award recipientThe Champion Award winners are: 

  • Secretary of State Employee: Sai Jones, Secretary of State Branch Office, Livonia 
  • Taking Initiative: Silvey’s Transportation, Upper Peninsula  
  • Advocacy: Susan Hanna, Ascension Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo  
  • Volunteer: Kenton Kurth, Grand Rapids   
  • Community Partner: Michigan HOSA  
  • Legislative Partner: State Rep. Felicia Brabec, Ann Arbor  
  • Multicultural Difference Maker: Londel Cook, Saginaw  
  • First Responder: Kristen Main, Battle Creek 
  • Donation Storyteller: April Morton, CBS 62  
  • Medical Examiner: Dr. Michael Markey, Medical Examiner, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella & Shiawassee counties  Man presenting blue and green glass award to woman
  • Hospital Spiritual Care: Michael Goddard, McLaren Pontiac Hospital  
  • End-of-Life Team: Amy Fox, Kristen Keelan, Family Support and End-of-Life Team, Ascension St. John Hospital  
  • Nurse: Victolyn Flemmings, Detroit Receiving Hospital & University Health Center  
  • Physician: Dr. Thomas Gravelyn, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor   
  • Donation Liaison: Maureen Bishop, Spectrum Health Lakeland St. Joseph Hospital  
  • Funeral Professional: Sharon Gee-Mascarello, Gladwin  
  • Transplant Center Professional: Joann Brooks, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor   
  • Hospital Executive Leader: Dr. Larry Ramunno, DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital, Detroit  
  • Innovation Award: Laboratory, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak 
  • Honoring Life Through Donation Award: Dr. Chandan Mehta, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit   
  • Donor Hospital of the Year: Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn   
  • Legacy Award: Bill Madek, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit   

          Woman at podium for Gift of Life Champions Gala, older couple looking on from beside the podiumKenton Kurth passed away three weeks before the event received his award posthumously. It was accepted by his wife, Sarah (see related story).

          Dils said she was honored to work with so many passionate advocates throughout the state.  

          Saving lives is a humbling mission,” she said. “We also are humbled to carry it out with all of you right there with us.”  

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