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It’s official: Donate Life Coalition of Michigan set Guinness World Record for largest gathering of heart transplant recipients

Gift of Life Michigan

The Donate Life Coalition of Michigan, its members and Art Moran Buick GMC are proud to announce that our attempt has officially been accepted and was set on February 14, when 132 heart transplant recipients gathered at the auto dealership in Southfield.

Officials had said at least 50 heart recipients were needed for a record, and the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan far exceeded that goal. More importantly, the event celebrated the new life made possible through organ, tissue and eye donation, and raised awareness of the need for more donors.

“I was inspired by those who were 20, 22 and even 24 years out with their new hearts. I’m seven years out and hearing those numbers was therapeutic for me,” said Sherry Johnson of Farmington Hills, a heart recipient and an event coordinator. “The moment that really touched me was when the parents of a five-month-old proudly held their daughter high in the air and yelled ‘Here’ when they heard the roll call reach her number. Michigan had an increase of register donors on the weekend of our event and I’m proud to think that this event had something to do with that.”

Tom Moran, president of Art Moran Buick GMC, said he’ll never forget this Valentine’s Day, nor will the day ever be the same after hosting such an event. Moran has been an ardent supporter of organ, tissue and eye donation, including having Donate Life license plates on his fleet of vehicles. The dealership also will host the Coalition’s ALIVE 2014 event on May 3.

Transplant centers participating in the record included the University of Michigan Health System, Henry Ford Transplant Institute, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Beaumont Health System, Spectrum Health System, Cleveland Clinic and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

More than 3,300 Michigan patients are waiting for life-saving organ transplants. More than 3.5 million people have been added to Michigan’s Organ Donor Registry since its inception. To join the Donor Registry, visit giftoflifemichigan.org or call 800-482-4881.

The Donate Life Coalition of Michigan, an affiliate of Donate Life America, raises awareness about organ, tissue and eye donation through education and outreach activities. The Coalition works closely with Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s federally designated organ and tissue recovery organization, and with the Michigan Eye-Bank, the state’s only eye tissue recovery organization. Other member organizations include Beaumont Health System, Genentech, Henry Ford Transplant Institute, St. John Hospital Transplant Specialty Center, University of Michigan Health System, Spectrum Health System, Gift of Life MOTTEP, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Be the Match/National Marrow Donor Program, Michigan Donor Family Council, Michigan Hospital Association, RMG Technologies, Inc., Second Chance at Life, the Transplant Games of America and the Transplant Living Community of Henry Ford Transplant Institute.

Next up for the Coalition is ALIVE 2014, a benefit fundraise at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3, Art Moran Buick GMC, 29300 Telegraph Road, in Southfield. Tickets are available by visiting www.donatelifemichigan.org or calling (248) 770-5172 for more information.

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Editor’s Note: Event photos are available upon request. Please contact Peggy Burkhard for more information.

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