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African American Outreach

Despite a history of mistrust and misinformation, doctors will work just as hard to save your life.

The Community Spoke

And We Listened

It’s not uncommon for African Americans to be mistrusting of the health care system and skeptical of the organ and tissue donation process. We launched Let’s Talk to reach out to those communities, where people are more likely to need an organ transplant, yet less likely to sign up as donors. We talked with people in the community and encouraged them to share their stories, to break down misconceptions, to address myths and to encourage their neighbors, families and friends to sign up as donors.

In the U.S., there are more than 100,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ, and about 60 percent of them represent racial and ethnic minorities. In Michigan, it’s about 40 percent of the patients on the waiting list. This is a discussion that can save lives.

Community Conversations

Read Stories of Hope

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  • Let's Talk - African American
Ben, Karen and Mallaki Hayes

Mallaki receives the gift of life and a new family

Ben and Karen Hayes knew no one could care for the foster boy like they could A 7-year-old boy in the foster care system was recovering from a life-saving liver transplant when two strangers walked…

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Taneisha Carswell received a kidney transplant from her cousin. Her young nephew later became a donor.

Staff Spotlight: As a donation educator, Taneisha Carswell knows when to talk and when to listen

Gift of Life staffer’s kidney transplant gives her personal perspective If Taneisha Carswell doesn’t convince someone to be an organ donor right away, no worries. She’ll keep trying. One skeptical man visited her information table…

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Mike Lopez (left) received a liver transplant when John Edmond (right) donated his 7-year old daughter's organs

A brotherhood is born out of death, life and gratitude

John Edmond barely gave it a thought as a woman from Gift of Life Michigan entered his young daughter’s room in the pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He knew his 7-year-old would not survive her accidental…

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Curpri Sanders received the gift of a tissue donation for her reconstruction surgery after a double mastectomy.

Tissue Donation for Breast Cancer Survior

“I can look in the mirror every day and not be reminded of the hell I went through.” Curpri Sanders experienced the happiest time in her life and the saddest in the same month. As…

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Double lung transplant recipient Debora Dearring

Volunteer Spotlight: Gift of lungs motivates Debora Dearring to share her own spirit and compassion

Debora Dearring lived at Henry Ford Hospital for nine months, seven of them waiting and praying for a double lung transplant that would save her life. The days and months were long and she was…

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Tristan Johnson walking across the lacrosse field carrying his game gear

Grueling time on dialysis ends with ultimate gift

Organ donor saves star high school athlete who then literally pays it forward to help donation programs  A young donor saved two things most important to Tristan Johnson: His life and his ability to play…

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Aarolyn McCullough stands in front of Henry Ford Hospital, where she received her liver transplant in 2011.

Volunteer Spotlight: Liver transplant recipient dreams big

Volunteer wants to help transplant families with House of Hope for extended stays in Detroit  Aarolyn McCullough was inspired by one simple question: “Where can I buy groceries?”  Aarolyn was volunteering to spend time with…

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Vickie Figeroa stands in front of several pews and stained glass windows

Heart recipient adopts second mission: Advocating for organ, tissue donation

“I always tell people to sign up,” Grosse Pointe Woods woman says Vickie Figueroa makes her living ensuring that people of Black, Hispanic and Native American heritage are included in the Catholic Church and cared…

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Man at podium in front of extra large screen showing photo of a little girl and her name, Amaia

Lansing father of 7-year-old donor presents award to producers of popular ‘Chicago Med’ in Hollywood

Donate Life Hollywood reached out to Gift of Life Michigan and one other organ procurement organization this year asking for help. The donation advocacy group asked Gift of Life to nominate a donor family to…

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Woman holding a round floragraph with the image of her daughter on it

Volunteer Spotlight: Longtime volunteer honors her daughter by teaching others about donation

Artelia Griggs helps save lives by telling everyone she can about organ and tissue donation. She also does it as a loving tribute to her own daughter’s legacy of giving.  “It’s been a wonderful thing…

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Let’s Have this Conversation Together

We invite you to join us in a virtual experience to elevate the conversation about the benefits of these lifesaving gifts. Talk to your families. Your friends. Your social networks.

We need each other.

A single organ donor can save as many as eight lives. A tissue donor can help heal up to 75 others.

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