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Gift of Life Michigan Blog

Nancy Banks said she is living proof of the good organ donation can do.

Kidney recipient says she is living proof of the good organ donation can do

Thu, May 13, 2021

Nancy Banks was just finishing up a dialysis treatment when her phone started to ring.

She didn’t recognize the number and was going to ignore it because the clinic had a strict no-calls policy. A staff member had a feeling about the 800-number, however, and advised her to answer. When she did, she received some of the best news of her life: a donor had generously gifted a kidney and it was a good match for her.

'Life is great, but living is greater'

Thu, May 06, 2021

Sarah Ann Scantamburlo has learned to live life to the fullest and make the most of whatever circumstances fate throws her way.

“I feel like so many people wait for tomorrow, what they deem as the perfect opportunity,” said Scantamburlo, a Novi resident. “But how do you know? Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There is no do over.”

Shane Sena saved five lives by donating his organs.

Benzie County man saves lives through donation

Thu, April 29, 2021

Shane Sena was dedicated to his family and friends and enjoyed working on cars.

“He was a big brother and a little brother. He was loved by his siblings. He doted on them,” said his mother, Marie. “He was very protective of them.”

Mohamed El-Souri pediatric transplant week

Heart transplant recipient breaks down cultural barriers

Fri, April 23, 2021

Sometimes, life throws you a curveball.

Mohamed El-Souri knows this better than most people. The 18-year-old Dearborn resident was a healthy, active teen who fell very ill while he was in high school. Doctors initially diagnosed him with pneumonia, but it turned out there was nothing wrong with his lungs – his heart was failing and he needed a new one.

A donated heart gave Rebecca Anderson a second chance at life.

Southgate woman celebrates new adventures, life milestones

Wed, April 14, 2021

Rebecca Anderson has been able to watch her daughter get married, graduate from Michigan State University and earn a master’s degree. She has traveled to the Mediterranean and celebrated her 30th anniversary with her husband, Rex.

Todd Luchies donated a kidney to his wife, Heather.

Husband saves wife with donated kidney

Wed, April 07, 2021

Heather Luchies had long known she would need a kidney transplant. Fortunately, when the time came, a donor was closer than she had anticipated. In fact, she had married him nearly two decades earlier.

'I just tell people: think of your loved ones.'

Thu, April 01, 2021

Katy Rozman has a message for young transplant recipients or young people waiting for a new life-saving organ: you are not alone.

“Sometimes all we need is someone to relate to and I don't always think that's available – especially for transplant kids,” she said.

Murphy Ainsworth gave the gift of life by donating his organs and tissue

'He was a giver all his life'

Thu, March 25, 2021

Murphy Ainsworth was always fit, healthy and active – an energetic athlete who is remembered by family and friends as positive and carefree, with an easy-going smile.

“He was really loved by everybody,” said his father, Tom. “He took the best of me and his mother. You really couldn’t have asked for a better kid. I’m proud of everything he did.”

Aimee Cruz, a three-time liver recipient, says she is grateful for every day.

'I see life in a different way now'

Wed, March 17, 2021

Aimee Cruz would be the first person to tell you she’s lucky to be alive. Originally from Puerto Rico, the Ann Arbor resident has had three liver transplants in her life and is grateful for every day.

‘It changes the way you look at everything’

Fri, March 05, 2021

Leah Howell celebrates two birthdays on the same day every year. One is hers, the other is her donated kidney, which she received the day after her birthday more than 16 years ago. She named her ultimate gift “Joey.”

“I’m not really sure where the name came from,” she said.  “I think I was joking one day and referred to him by name. Ever since then, Joey gets birthday cards. He’s part of the family.”