50 Stories for 50 Years

Gift of Life Michigan has touched thousands of lives since its inception in 1971, bringing the hope of healing and a second chance at life for people throughout Michigan and across the U.S.

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‘Mary’s spirit will always live on, and it’s a beautiful thing’

Chad Milton knows the spirit of his late wife lives on – he’s even heard proof. A traffic accident claimed Mary Milton in 2016, shortly after the 43-year-old left their home to go to the…

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50 Stories to Honor 50 Years

The stories from people who have been saved, and from the families of donors who so generously provided these gifts of life, are always touching, bittersweet and inspirational.

Please join us in honoring 50 years of lives saved by reading and sharing some of the stories (below) that touched the lives and hearts of so many people.

Caledonia man shares message of hope after 2nd heart transplant

‘All I want to do is volunteer and help out,’ advocate says   Scott Campbell never let his condition slow him down – even after his second heart transplant. Born with self-corrected transposition of the…

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‘Mary’s spirit will always live on, and it’s a beautiful thing’

Chad Milton knows the spirit of his late wife lives on – he’s even heard proof. A traffic accident claimed Mary Milton in 2016, shortly after the 43-year-old left their home to go to the…

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Heart transplant provides new lease, perspective on life

When Michael Collier says he’s in better shape now than he was more than 20 years ago, it’s easy to believe him. Nearly 11 years ago, a heart transplant saved his life and gave him…

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Organ donation advocate works to break down myths

‘It has to stop because too many people are losing their lives,’ says donor mom Terra DeFoe encouraged her son, Emilio, to sign up as an organ donor when he turned 18. Little did she…

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Promise kept: Ann Arbor man advocates for organ donation two decades after receiving new liver from murder victim

Organ donation helps two families heal, grow and bond Twenty years ago, Dr. Michael Hagan was living on borrowed time. Hagan, now 71, knew he was ill, he just didn’t know how ill. He knew…

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Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Gift of Life CEO Dorrie Dils, Assistant Secretary of State Heaster Wheeler with framed tribute

50 Years of Partnership in Honoring Life Through Donation

More than 95 percent of people on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry signed up to donate life while they were getting (or renewing) their driver’s license or state ID. Our incredible partners at the Michigan…

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‘It’s all in Divine order’

Aarolyn McCullough knew she would need a liver transplant more than 10 years before her miracle happened. Diagnosed in the late 1990s with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, a disease that attacks the bile ducts in the…

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‘I don’t celebrate one birthday; I celebrate two’

Mustafa Sharafi always wanted to be a father. He was granted that wish more than three years ago, when his son Zain was born, and said he has been grateful every day since. “To have…

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‘This community has really touched my heart’

Commerce Township woman finds passion in organ, tissue donation advocacy A desire to help others has turned into a life passion for Cathy Warren. Warren, 57, of Commerce Township, started working for the Donate Life…

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‘I will always aspire to make my hero, my donor, proud of me’

Battle Creek woman beats cancer, achieves dreams with donated tissue Kristen Main faced an impossible choice before she even turned 13 years old. She mentioned a strange lump on her arm to her doctor during…

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Donated heart grants Highland Township man 11,520 extra days

A lot of people called Jim Pixley ‘the Miracle Man,’ because of all the things he went through and everything he accomplished. Pixley, of Highland Township, passed away on April 28, 2020 at the age…

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‘I woke up, and I felt whole’

Donated tissue allows breast cancer survivor to quickly resume life, activity   With a history of breast cancer in her family, Sue Pilon was not about to take chances when she was diagnosed with the…

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Man at barbeque grill

‘I wanted some good to come from it’

Muskegon mother marks two-year-anniversary of son’s death, organ donation Muskegon, MI – Amanda Garza has a printed version of the last text she received from her son, Nathanael. It reads: “I’m just thinking of you…

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‘I felt brand new’

When Michael Love started to experience shortness of breath, the Southfield resident said he thought it’d be easy to treat. He was 50 years old at the time and noticed he had been slowing down…

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Heart Transplant Recipient Breaks Down Cultural Barriers

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.
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