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Patrick Pruitt's eyesight was saved by a cornea donor when he was a young child.
Featured | December 15, 2023

Cornea recipient celebrates his gift of sight

I’m here because 32 years ago I received a life-changing gift. Sight is an easy thing to take for granted and, like so much in life, you don’t realize how much you rely on it…

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Dr. Bedi, Rachel Kuntzsch and Sarah Scantamburlo are new Gift of Life Governing Board members
News | February 21, 2024

Gift of Life Michigan announces new board members

New board members will bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the table Gift of Life Michigan is proud to announce three new members joining its Governing Board of Directors.            …

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2023 was a record year for Gift of Life Michigan with 578 organ donors and 1,858 tissue donors
News | January 15, 2024

Gift of Life Michigan smashes record for organ donors in 2023

More than 213,000 people join Donor Registry Gift of Life Michigan helped a record 578 people become organ donors and 1,858 to give the gift of tissue last year, saving thousands of lives and healing…

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Melinda Herrera, Neuro ICU nurse at Sparrow Hospital, will receive Gift of Life's 2024 Nurse Champion Award
News | January 3, 2024

Sparrow Hospital nurse earns statewide donation champion award from Gift of Life Michigan

Malinda Herrera becomes a living donor to offer hope Malinda Herrera has been a passionate advocate of organ and tissue donation for years as a nurse on the Neuro Intensive Care Unit at Sparrow Hospital….

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Patrick Pruitt's eyesight was saved by a cornea donor when he was a young child.
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | December 15, 2023

Cornea recipient celebrates his gift of sight

I’m here because 32 years ago I received a life-changing gift. Sight is an easy thing to take for granted and, like so much in life, you don’t realize how much you rely on it…

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Terri Finch Hamilton's father was a donor-in-spirit at the end of his life.
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | December 15, 2023

My dad is a ‘donor in spirit’

I was familiar with Gift of Life and its life-saving mission, but why was she calling me? My dad was 86, with multiple health issues. His heart and lungs had failed him. His skin was old and thin. What could he possibly donate? “One of my colleagues is still researching your dad’s medical history,” Jacy said, “but he may be able to donate bone.” What Jacy needed to know from me now was pressing: Were we willing?
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Malinda Herrera of Lansing donated part of her liver in August to help a colleague’s spouse.
Blog | December 15, 2023

New Michigan law protects health coverage for living organ donors

Gift of Life Michigan celebrates the passage of a law that prevents health insurers from denying or limiting coverage for living organ donors in this state. The law specifically prohibits insurers from denying or limiting life, health or long-term care insurance because someone decides to be a living donor.
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Gift of Life's President and CEO, Dorrie Dils, presented the Multicultural Difference Maker award to donor mother Artelia Griggs at the 2023 Champions Gala
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | December 14, 2023

Donation champion award winners for 2024 will be announced this month

Tickets available for the popular April Gala Gift of Life Michigan will soon announce the names of about 20 donation champion award winners which will include Hospital of the Year, Legacy and Honoring Life through…

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Sherry Johnson, with hair pulled back right, sits on her bed in her hospital room while she waits for a second heart and kidney transplant. Her forearm is facing the camera so we can see her tattoo, representing her original heart and her first transplanted heart.
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | December 14, 2023

You gave me your heart so I could live my dreams

Sherry Johnson shares her experiences as a heart transplant patient who waits again Sherry Johnson was so exhausted she couldn’t walk her two little boys to the bus stop. Brushing her teeth wiped her out….

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Taneisha Carswell received a kidney transplant from her cousin. Her young nephew later became a donor.
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | December 14, 2023

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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Chris Kowalski shared his story as a heart transplant recipient at the 2023 Inspiring Champions Symposium.
Blog, Stories of Hope | December 14, 2023

Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Kowalski speaks while he waits for a life-saving heart transplant

Not much will stop this volunteer from telling his story Chris Kowalski won’t let much get in the way of telling people about organ donation. Not even Detroit Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera. Chris talked to…

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Kay Walters, pictured with her daughter, received a heart transplant in 1997.
Blog, Stories of Hope | December 14, 2023

Transplant Throwback: Kay Walters

I had my heart transplant in April 1997, after years of serious health complications caused by a heart attack and cardiac arrest in 1989. Since my transplant, I have enjoyed an overall healthy life. At my last check-up at the heart transplant clinic, my doctor gave me an A-.
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A new marketing campaign will help tax preparers and Michigan tax payers check a brand new box on state income tax forms to sign up.
Blog | December 14, 2023

Do taxes. Save lives.

The new Check Your Heart law will place the organ and tissue donation question on Michigan income tax forms for the 2023 tax year and beyond. Michigan is the first state to offer the opportunity to register to be a donor this way.
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Rev. Dr. .Remonia Chapman is Gift of Life Michigan’s director of public education and community relations and program director of Detroit MOTTEP (Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Education Program). She holds a Doctor of Divinity and serves as associate pastor at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit.
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | December 13, 2023

It’s a matter of faith and facts

Understanding religious perspectives on organ and tissue donation One of the misconceptions or barriers that repeatedly arise in conversations about organ and tissue donation is whether it’s permitted based on the beliefs of one’s faith. To address this, Gift of Life Michigan created “A Matter of Faith,” a video that discusses the important role of faith in the realm of donation. Its production was supported by members of the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit.
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Nationwide Organ Recovery Transport Alliance (NORA) helps Gift of Life and local transplant hospitals move organs and medical teams around the state.
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | December 13, 2023

Organ donation vehicles are hope on wheels

Organs and transplant teams are probably on board Ever wonder what that passing SUV covered in organ and tissue transplant branding is all about? You probably ask yourself, who or what is inside? Where is…

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Mike Lopez (left) received a liver transplant when John Edmond (right) donated his 7-year old daughter's organs
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | December 13, 2023

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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2023: A RECORD YEAR; 500 organ donors
News | November 20, 2023

Gift of Life Michigan breaks record for organ donors in a year

Unprecedented 500 donors save lives so far in 2023 Michigan’s organ and tissue donation program has broken another record by reaching the 500 organ donors mark in a single year with more than a month…

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a green stethoscope surrounding two pink paper kidneys on a gray background
News | November 10, 2023

Gift of Life Michigan CEO praises protections for living organ donors

Gift of Life Michigan celebrates the passage of a law that prevents health insurers from denying or limiting coverage for living organ donors in this state. Sen. Kevin Hertel sponsored the measure (SB 384), which…

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All of Us traveling trunks, full of giveaways, brochures and other educational materials, are available for teachers across the state of Michigan.
Gift of LifeLines, News | October 20, 2023

A new bill will require education about organ donation in Michigan public schools

A new bill introduced in October in the Michigan House would require education about organ, eye and tissue donation for 9th graders in public schools statewide. Twenty-four states, including neighboring Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, require it. Michigan does not. As a result, double the percentage of young people register as organ donors in those states when they get their first driver’s license.
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Curpri Sanders received the gift of a tissue donation for her reconstruction surgery after a double mastectomy.
Blog, Let's Talk, Stories of Hope | October 16, 2023

Tissue donor changes life for breast cancer survivor

“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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Guadalupe Alejos, who received a kidney transplant 50 years ago, standing in front of the Kidney Transplant Center sign
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | September 12, 2023

Transplant Throwback: Guadalupe Alejos 

In this series we are looking back with transplant recipients and learning how they are making the most of their second chance at life. In this issue we talk with Guadalupe Alejos, who received a kidney transplant from his brother 50 years ago!
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Heart transplant recipient Rachel Kuntzsch
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | September 12, 2023

Lansing heart recipient saves lives by telling her story of hope

Life was “exceedingly rich” for Rachel Kuntzsch when it nearly slipped into darkness forever. She was happy, 44 and her Lansing consulting firm was thriving. Rachel was a strong, vibrant mom, friend, daughter and wife….

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A group of Gift of Life staff, transplant recipients and legislators gathers around Governor Whitmer, who is seated at her desk and holding up the signed Check Your Heart Act
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, News | September 12, 2023

New law lets residents sign up through tax forms

Michigan residents who haven’t yet added their names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry will have a new and easy way to do so in 2024. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the Check Your Heart Act…

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Newborn baby wrapped in orange towel with headband
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | September 12, 2023

Baby Jade Townsend saves the life of another infant

One of Gift of Life Michigan’s smallest donors – baby Jade Townsend, who lived for just 55 minutes in 2021 – saved the life of another infant this spring. But perhaps her most compelling and lasting legacy is an important protocol change. That’s because Gift of Life Michigan – on behalf of Jade and her parents – asked LeMaitre Vascular in Massachusetts to consider taking Jade’s valve despite her birth weight of just 3 pounds, 7 ounces.
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Check Your Heart graphic featuring Aimee Cruz saying "I'm here today because someone checked their heart."
Blog | September 12, 2023

Using digital marketing to save lives

Gift of Life Michigan's "Check Your Heart" campaign is using data and telling the stories of donors, their families and organ and tissue recipients whose lives are changed by their gifts.
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Artelia Griggs, donor mother, receiving an award from Christine Peiter, Gift of Life employee and tissue graft recipient
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, News | September 12, 2023

Gift of Life’s gala generates thousands for critical programs

The celebration of excellence will expand in 2024 to allow for greater sponsorship and partnership opportunities and higher attendance with individual tickets available for sale for the first time.
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Two teenage girls wearing "cornea glasses" that distort vision.
Blog | September 12, 2023

“All of Us” surges in popularity at schools across Michigan

There’s a buzz in the air when Gift of Life Michigan educators arrive at a school with their red trunk of supplies and plasticized real human organs used to teach about donation and transplant. The All of Us education program is a real draw. “Everybody hears that we’re there,” said Alison Gillum, senior community relations coordinator at Gift of Life. Curious teachers pop in for a look. Students chatter about it in the halls. “When we leave, the people in the office tell us, ‘We’ve been hearing about you guys all day.’”
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101-year-old Katherine Steck holding a flower arrangement. Katherine donated tissues after her passing.
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | September 7, 2023

Think again if you believe you’re too old to be a donor

One of the greatest myths related to organ and tissue donation is that there’s a strict age limit and that older people couldn’t possibly save the lives of others. That couldn’t be farther from the…

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Double lung transplant recipient Debora Dearring
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Let's Talk, Stories of Hope | September 7, 2023

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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A donor heart under ice in a sterile cooler
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | September 6, 2023

Heart study with Stanford University results in more transplants

Gift of Life Michigan has worked for years to find new ways to increase the use of donor organs for transplantation. One five-year study, in particular, revealed such dramatic and significant findings that Michigan’s organ…

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Cindy Zarate in blue scrubs in the ICU
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | September 1, 2023

Staff Spotlight: Cindy Zarate takes care of donors in the days, hours and minutes before they give their final gifts

Donation Coordinator Cindy Zarate squeezes a terry cloth towel soaked with warm, soapy water and slowly wipes it across the arms of a man whose life ended the day before. It’s her job to be…

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Guests enjoyed free Dippin' Dots ice cream at Donate Life Night at the Zoo
Blog, News | August 17, 2023

Donate Life Night at the Zoo celebrates organ donors, transplant recipients and renewed life

Gift of Life’s largest West Michigan outreach event returned this week to the popular John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids with a new twist. This year, more than one thousand Donate Life Night at the…

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Tristan Johnson and his parents speaking at a podium
Blog | August 7, 2023

‘It happened to me’

Transplant recipients tell their stories to 100 visitors at Gift of Life Michigan Community Open House Both Rachel Kuntzsch and Tristan Johnson were healthy and active when their doctors delivered unimaginable diagnoses of life-threatening illnesses….

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Terra DeFoe, donor mother, stands in front of a church stained glass window
Blog, Let's Talk, News | August 1, 2023

National Minority Donor Awareness Month

August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month, designated to heighten awareness about organ and tissue donation in multicultural communities. Originally observed in a single week in 1996, this awareness month is a collaborative effort by…

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Hartley, the Gift of Life Michigan mascot, gives a high five to a member of Bobby's Rockers at the finish line at LIFE Walk/Run 2023.
Blog, News | July 24, 2023

Gift of Life Hosted Annual LIFE Walk/Run on Belle Isle

Gift of Life MOTTEP hosted its 26th annual LIFEWalk/Run event on July 22 on Belle Isle in Detroit. The event included a 5K walk and run, and a 10K run. The theme for the event…

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A group of Gift of Life staff, transplant recipients and legislators gathers around Governor Whitmer, who is seated at her desk and holding up the signed Check Your Heart Act
Blog, News | July 19, 2023

Gov. Whitmer signs bill to add Organ Donor Registry question to state income tax forms in 2024

Check Your Heart Act is the first of its kind in the nation. Groundbreaking legislation to bolster the Michigan Organ Donor Registry became law on Tuesday with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature on the Check Your…

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A large crowd gathered on the Michigan Capitol steps (including mascot Hartley T. Heart) holding Donate Life flags and banners for donor families, living donors, transplant recipients and those waiting to live.
Blog, News | June 26, 2023

Hundreds celebrate new legislation placing donor registry question on state income tax forms

Check Your Heart Act would be first of its kind in the nation More than 400 people in Michigan’s organ and tissue donation and transplant converged on the lawn of the Michigan Capitol in Lansing…

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President and CEO Dorrie Dils leans against a glass wall at Gift of Life Michigan
Blog, News | June 22, 2023

Gift of Life Michigan CEO named president-elect of association representing organ donation programs across the country

The Association for Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) has named Gift of Life Michigan President and CEO Dorrie Dils as its president-elect. The Saline resident will serve in the national role for one year before becoming…

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A large group gathered on the Michigan Capitol steps holding signs recognizing them as donor families, transplant recipients and those waiting to live.
Blog, News | June 19, 2023

Rally in Lansing will celebrate new legislation placing donor registry question on state income tax forms

Check Your Heart Act would be first of its kind in the nation As many as 400 people in Michigan’s organ and tissue donation and transplant community will converge on the lawn of the Michigan…

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May was a record month in Michigan with 63 organ donors providing 167 organs transplanted and 177 tissue donors.
Blog, News | June 5, 2023

Gift of Life Michigan breaks yet another state record for donors

Organ and tissue donors help hundreds in May   Gift of Life Michigan helped a record 63 people become organ donors and 177 gave the gift of tissue in May, saving and healing hundreds of critically…

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organ donation in ann arbor michigan
Blog, News | May 11, 2023

Bill to add donor registration option to tax forms passes Michigan House

Key legislation that would allow state income tax filers to add their names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry is one step closer to reality. The Check Your Heart Act passed the House today. It…

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Female doctor holding open chart looking at the camera
Blog, News | April 26, 2023

Donor Registry Awareness Bill introduced in Michigan

NEW SENATE BILL WOULD INCREASE AWARENESS, PROVIDE EDUCATION ON ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION   Updated April 26, 2023 This week, Sen. Kevin Daley (R-Lapeer) introduced Senate Bill 287, which mirrors House Bill 4060 introduced by State…

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Carol Cerny, leaning against a tree trunk on a sunny day
Blog | April 14, 2023

Transplant Throwback: Carol Cerny

In this series we are looking back with transplant recipients and learning how they are making the most of their second chance at life. In this issue we talk with Carol Cerny about the difference her lung donor made.
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Pam and Krishna Sawhney made the largest financial gift to Gift of Life in the organization's history, to support the All of Us high school education program.
Blog | April 14, 2023

Historic gift funds student education

Pamela and Krishna Sawhney fervently believe educating youth about organ and tissue donation will change the minds and hearts of generations of skeptics — and save the lives of patients waiting for transplants.  The Bloomfield Hills couple has pledged $125,000 over five years to the All of Us program, Gift of Life Michigan’s unique hands-on learning experience for high schoolers.  Their gift is — by far — the largest in the organization’s 51-year history. 
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Gift of Life logo above the main entrance of the office.
Blog, News | April 14, 2023

Gift of Life sets organ and tissue records in 2022

Donation success in Michigan mirrors the national trend in saving and healing lives. Gift of Life Michigan helped a record 463 people become organ donors and 1,821 give the gift of tissue last year, saving hundreds of lives and healing tens of thousands more. The 2022 figures represent a significant 14% increase in tissue donors over the previous record in 2019 and an 8% increase in organ donors over 2021.  The records came as we hired more staff, spent more time on-site with potential donors and their families, and expanded our efforts to grow the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. 
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Coleton Voss as an infant wearing his "Born a Hero!" onesie from Gift of Life Michigan
Blog | April 13, 2023

Placenta donation offers super-healing powers to patients in need

Moms and babies are helping heal painful open wounds with generous gifts of “miracle tissue”  Little Coleton Voss has no idea how many people he’s already helped in his young life. But with the gift…

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Michigan sample driver's license with red heart donor symbol emphasized
Blog | April 13, 2023

Check Your Heart campaign aims to bolster Organ Donor Registry

Do you have a heart on your license or state ID?  Philip Perry and about 2,400 other patients in Michigan are so sick that they’re counting on donors and their families to save their lives.  Philip Perry is waiting for a heart transplant. The 40-year-old Monroe man is among more than 100 people in the state who need a new heart and he knows the odds aren’t in his favor.  “I’m trying not to think about the things that people in my situation seem to think about a lot,” he said. “When I find myself falling down, I just try to get back up and don’t go that far down again.”  Gift of Life Michigan is in the midst of the Check Your Heart campaign, a statewide marketing effort to grow the Michigan Organ Donor Registry and offer more hope to Philip and others like him. 
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Rev. Dr. Remonia Chapman is the director of community relations and family support for Gift of Life Michigan
Blog | April 13, 2023

Workplace partnerships expand our reach

Remonia Chapman is committed to community, relationships and finding new ways to advance the Donor Registry  Relationships are fueling a significant partnership initiative with some of the state’s largest businesses and organizations. Remonia Chapman and her colleagues are asking them to share the donor registration link with employees along with the message that donation saves and transforms lives.  Remonia, Gift of Life’s director of public education and community relations, explains how workplace partnerships work, why this initiative is so critical right now, and how your workplace can help save lives. 
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Patrick Wells-O'Brien is the VP of communications and external relations
Blog, News | April 13, 2023

Proposed state bills would educate and register more donors

Check Your Heart Act would add donation question to income tax form  Patrick Wells-O’Brien spends a lot of time generating innovative ideas about how to add thousands of names to the state’s Organ Donor Registry….

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Nick Olden in scrubs next to the Donor Care Center mural at Gift of Life Michigan
Blog | April 13, 2023

Staff Spotlight: Michigan donors contribute to groundbreaking research

Nick Olden has one job and it’s pivotal: He finds ways for non-transplantable donated tissue and organs to help humanity through research.  Gift of Life Michigan’s research coordinator and the clinical teams working alongside him…

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A researcher at the Leiber Institute studies a donated specimen.
Blog | April 13, 2023

Michigan donors help with important brain research

Unique partnership has the potential to improve millions of lives  The families of donors in Michigan are saying yes to research that could lead to breakthroughs in crippling diseases of the brain.  In fact, 170…

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