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.

African American man in red chef uniform

Two-time kidney recipient inspires others to lead healthier lives

One minute Oliver Hale was on top of the world, the next he was flat on his back. Hale, a Kentwood resident, had just won his first United States Tennis Association tournament in 1983 and…

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‘I didn’t even know it was possible.’

Dominick Anastasi is back to playing catch and coaching his sons in basketball, baseball and football. He’s grateful for the experience, considering a year ago, he was too weak to even throw a baseball. Initially…

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Minorities face longer wait, tougher odds for organ donors

Jean Washington is now in a group that has far too many members: she’s waiting for a life-saving organ. Washington, 48, of Southfield, had been concerned about a general sense of fatigue last year and…

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50 fo fifty, Her spirit is truly alive

‘She had a higher purpose’

July 22, 2010, John Edmond got the call every parent dreads.
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Brotherly love: donated kidney provides second chance at life

Earl James has some advice for men who are inclined to ignore the typical aches and pains that come with age: ignore them at your peril.
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Fifty for 50 Robert and Wayne

‘My son lives on in others and he’s always going to live in me’

William Wayne McGee IV was known by several nicknames, including ‘Ugg,’ and ‘Fat Daddy.’ His mother, and at least one of the people he saved when his life was tragically cut short at the age of 33, have another nickname for him, too: ‘God’s Gift.’
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A journey of faith

Farmington Hills, MI – Dale Milford has always been a man of strong faith, but he said his transplant journey – or, more accurately, journeys – elevated his calling. After three liver transplants, he said…

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‘She’s like another daughter’

Jud Lynch knew he would need two things: a haircut and a kidney transplant. The 68-year-old Grand Rapids man just didn’t expect to get them both from the same person. He was diagnosed with IGA…

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‘It’s a miracle, top to bottom. No doubt about it.’

Two decades ago, Mark Otto would’ve been happy to gain just one more year of life. Then 34, his liver was failing and he was plagued by chronically itchy skin. He was jaundiced and extremely…

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Rick Springfield and a mountain top: Milford woman donates kidney to sister-in-law, with a few friendly caveats

Candice Desjarlais remembers the exact moment she decided to donate a kidney to her sister-in-law, Thelma. Thelma had just finished a five-and-a-half hour dialysis treatment, with Candice sitting with her to keep her company. Candice…

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

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…

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‘Life is great, but living is greater’

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…

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Benzie County man saves lives through donation

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…

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Southgate woman celebrates new adventures, life milestones

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,…

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Husband saves wife with donated kidney

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. Now…

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