Gift of Life Michigan sets tissue donor record, saves and improves thousands of lives in 2016

Gift of Life Michigan logo

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Gift of Life Michigan helped make it possible for a record number of people to donate tissue in 2016, giving thousands of recipients the gifts of mobility, healing, pain relief and the ability to resume active lifestyles with the people they love.

That was just one important accomplishment last year for Gift of Life, the state’s organ and tissue donor program. In all, it helped 1,235 people donate tissue – up 27 percent from 966 in 2015. Michigan also had 299 organ donors, the most in a single year since 2008 and the third highest in state history.

In September, Gift of Life also helped a 21-year-old Norton Shores woman become the first person in Michigan to donate hands for transplant.

“More people than ever in Michigan – 4.4 million – are registered donors and their decisions to help others lend new hope to those who continue to wait,” said Dorrie Dils, who became Gift of Life CEO in August after a nationwide search. Dils, an Ohio native, came to the organization with more than 25 years of experience in the donation world.

“On behalf of thousands of very grateful recipients, we thank generous donors and their supportive families who gave the gifts life, sight and mobility to others in 2016,” she said.

Other Gift of Life accomplishments in 2016:

· Nearly 300,000 people joined the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

· About 58 percent of adults in the state are now registered organ donors. The number of adults on the registry has more than doubled since 2010.

· The total number of organs transplanted was 876, one more than in 2015 and substantially more than the 797 transplanted in 2014.

· 54 percent increase in tissue donors from medical examiner referrals, helping fulfill the wishes of more registered donors who die outside of a hospital.

· Opened a new intensive care unit and surgical center at Gift of Life’s Ann Arbor headquarters, allowing most donors to be transferred to the facility so organs and tissue can be recovered in-house. The change has increased efficiency, freed up operating room space at hospitals across Michigan and shortened the process, on average, which is a service to donor families.

Gift of Life is the intermediary between donors, their families, hospital staff and the state’s nine transplant centers. The Ann Arbor-based organization also works to promote the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

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