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

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

Registration still open to this free event

Gift of Life Michigan’s largest West Michigan event honoring organ, eye and tissue donation returns 6-9 p.m. Thursday, July 18 at the Zoológico de John Ball in Grand Rapids. One thousand guests are expected at this exclusive after-hours gathering.

Families exploring the Celebration of Life Trail at the John Ball ZooAttendees will get the chance to visit with the animals, check out resources from community partners, have their face painted, enjoy free ice cream and more. The event also features the Celebration of Life Trail, a moving tribute honoring organ, eye and tissue donors and recipients.

“Donate Life Night at the Zoo is a wonderful opportunity for us to connect with the West Michigan transplant community,” said Dorrie Dils, president and CEO, Gift of Life Michigan. “It provides a chance for us to celebrate those who have made the life-saving decision to donate and share the inspiring stories of those who have received a second chance at life.”

Emcee WOOD-TV anchor Teresa Weakley will lead a special program at 6:45 pm. Speakers include Natalie Frias, an artist and advocate who received a kidney transplant in 2016 from her now-husband, Mike. Their story has been featured on the “Today” show, People Magazine and in Natalie’s book “Fighting Failure.”

The event is free with registration. Those who make a $10 donation to Gift of Life Michigan receive a Donate Life Night at the Zoo t-shirt. For more information or to register, visit golm.org/zoo.

This annual Grand Rapids event is sponsored by Corewell Health, Trinity Health of Michigan y Lucky’s Self-Serve Auto.

More than 4.5 million Michigan residents are on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. About 2,500 Michigan patients are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. The best way to save lives is by joining the Donor Registry. To register or learn more about the donation process, visit giftoflifemichigan.org.

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