Gift of Life unveils new surgical suites and learning center

Gift of Life Michigan

ANN ARBOR, MI—Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ and tissue recovery program, has officially opened a $14.3-million expansion that includes its own surgical center to help save and improve more lives.

The expansion allows Gift of Life to transfer donors to its facility and recover organs and tissues in-house. This will increase the efficiency of donations, free up operating room space at hospitals across Michigan and better serve donor families by shortening the process, on average. Additionally, state-of-the-art equipment should help provide higher-quality organs for transplant.

“This expansion has been years in the making, and we are thrilled to launch this next phase in Gift of Life’s nearly 45-year history,” said Rick Hillbom, Gift of Life interim chief executive officer. “We know this will better serve our donor families, hospital partners, transplant centers and waiting recipients.”

Hillbom was joined at a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Governing Board President Dr. Atsushi Yoshida and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

“We are very excited to see our vision become a reality,” Dr. Yoshida said. “In Michigan, over 3,500 people are on the organ transplant waiting list, and nationwide, the number is over 121,000. This expansion gives them hope. It shows that Gift of Life – with its dedication, its professionalism, its enthusiasm – is doing everything possible to deliver these gifts.”

Key features of the expansion include:

  • 40,786-square-feet that connects two Gift of Life buildings into one
  • 4 surgical suites to be used for organ and tissue recoveries
  • Capability to do cardiac catheterization, CT scans, echocardiograms, liver biopsies and pathologies in-house
  • A learning center for conferences and other events that can hold 200 to 225 participants
  • A “green” roof (covered with plants) that will serve as a place for reflection for families and employees
  • Four electric car charging stations

Gift of Life expects to perform its first tissue recovery at the surgical center within the month, and the first organ recovery is expected to happen in May. It becomes one of only a handful of organ procurement organizations nationwide to have its own surgical center for organ recoveries.



  • Gift of Life Michigan was founded in 1971 and is the state’s federally designated organ and tissue recovery organization and serves as the liaison between donors and their families, hospitals and transplant centers. It also works with the Michigan Secretary of State to maintain the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
  • Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, regardless of age or health history, at https://giftoflifemichigan.org/.
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