fbpx

Labor of love: Grand Rapids man honored for sharing heartfelt journey about organ donation

gala_chad_milton_cropped

As a truck driver, Chad Milton has been on more journeys than he can probably count. Chad and Mary Milton

Milton, a Grand Rapids resident, is being honored by Gift of Life Michigan for another type of journey, however, the journey of acceptance of organ donation and the advocacy that followed. Milton recently received the 2020 Honoring Life Through Donation Award from Gift of Life, for his efforts to promote donation and to urge people to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

Milton’s journey started back in 2016, when his wife, Mary, was involved in a car accident and tragically succumbed to her injuries. She had been a passionate supporter of organ and tissue donation, but Chad was not.

“I was a no. I was against it, 100 percent,” he said at the time. “It was just because didn’t trust the process.”

He decided to follow with Mary’s wishes and worked closely with Gift of Life through the donation process. The respect, compassion and love shown to both of them throughout gave him further evidence that it was the right thing to do.

Chad Milton met Philip Acosta, who received his late wife's heart. “They answered all my questions. They hugged me constantly. I felt like they were working for her,” he said. “I felt like they were fulfilling her wishes. I felt like they loved her. They kept their promise.”

Chad has since spoked in support of organ and tissue donation and worked to break down myths and misconceptions involved in the process. He has corresponded with and since met the recipients of Mary’s gifts, including Philip Acosta, who received her heart.

“Mary’s spirit lives on. It will continue to live on,” he said. “This is God’s work. There’s a reason why it all came together the way it came together.”

Milton is one of 15 individuals and three hospitals to be honored as Donation Champions by Gift of Life Michigan. Other winners include:

  • Volunteer: Lydia and Ward Kimball, West Branch
  • Community partner: Wayne State University, Detroit
  • Donation storyteller: WLNS, Ch. 6 TV, Lansing
  • Hospital executive leader: Dr. Harry Anderson, St. Joseph Hospital – Ann Arbor
  • Hospital Educator: Wendy Lavin, Sinai Grace Hospital, Detroit
  • Secretary of State employee: Kelly Davis, Shepherd, MI
  • Medical Examiner: Dr. Joyce deJong, Medical Examiner
  • Hospital Spiritual Care: Cindi Veldheer DeYoung
  • Nurse: Elise Pavlick, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
  • Physician: Dr. Robert Beck, Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo
  • Donation Liaison: Kathi St. Pierre, Northern Michigan Hospital, Petoskey
  • Funeral Professional: Rita Jordan, O.H. Pye, Detroit
  • Transplant center professional: Jennifer Fogarty, Beaumont Royal Oak
  • Multicultural Difference Maker: Terra DeFoe
  • Innovation Award: Phil Douma, Michigan Funeral Directors Association, Okemos
  • Donor hospital of the year: Hurley Medical Center, Flint
  • Legacy Award: Dr. Theresa Jacobs, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor
Read More Posts

Angel wings mural in downtown Bay City in support of Gift of Life Michigan

Raising the wings of awareness

For years Brad Gohr watched as his mother, Charmaine Neymeiyer, battled Autoimmune Hepatitis, a disease…

Read More
Dorrie Dils is president and CEO of Gift of Life Michigan

AOPO Names 2024-2025 President and Board of Directors

OPO Leaders Elected to Champion Organ Donation Mission Today, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations…

Read More
Guests enjoyed free Dippin' Dots ice cream at Donate Life Night at the Zoo

Donate Life Night at John Ball Zoo honors those impacted by organ and tissue donation

Registration still open to this free event Gift of Life Michigan’s largest West Michigan event…

Read More
Donor families in the March of Honor at the 2024 Check Your Heart Capitol Rally

Check Your Heart Rally in Lansing focuses on educating the next generation

Hundreds gather in support of organ, eye and tissue donation   More than 400 people from…

Read More
sunset colors and a cross

Can Catholics Donate Organs?

The tenets of the Catholic faith are something many adhere to. But at times, these…

Read More
Group of patients waiting for organ transplants carrying a banner reading "Waiting to Live" along the Capitol sidewalk

Check Your Heart Rally at State Capitol encourages next generation to donate life

Hundreds expected in support of organ, eye and tissue donation on June 12 Hundreds of…

Read More
Scroll to Top