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Angel wings mural in downtown Bay City in support of Gift of Life Michigan
Featured | July 12, 2024

Raising the wings of awareness

For years Brad Gohr watched as his mother, Charmaine Neymeiyer, battled Autoimmune Hepatitis, a disease that slowly attacked her liver. After years of her health fluctuating, she was added to the wait list for a…

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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, 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, 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, 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, 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, LifeLines, 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, 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, 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, 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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Tristan Johnson walking across the lacrosse field carrying his game gear
Blog, Stories of Hope | April 12, 2023

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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Many blue and green, rounded glass awards with black pedestals sit on a table waiting to be presented.
Blog | April 6, 2023

Gift of Life recognizes champions of organ, eye and tissue donation

Gift of Life is grateful to leaders in our community who champion our mission of honoring life through donation. Later this month the organization will present Gift of Life Champion Awards to 21 people or…

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Remonia Chapman, Gift of Life's director of community relations and family support and director of Gift of Life MOTTEP, leads a team focused on multicultural outreach in the community.
Blog | April 6, 2023

Organ donation awareness is key in multicultural communities

MOTTEP and Gift of Life Michigan balance disparities with outreach and information Dr. Jewel Mullen, the associate dean for health equity at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, published an opinion piece…

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State Representative Felicia Brabec, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, kidney patient Armond Baskin and his wife, Molly, stand in front of a Gift of Life Michigan / Check Your Heart banner after a press conference kicking off National Donate Life Month 2023.
Blog, News | April 5, 2023

Bill would add organ donor registry question to state income tax forms

If passed, Michigan would be the first in the nation to do so Key legislation introduced on March 24 would include an important question on state of Michigan income tax forms: Would you like to…

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Aarolyn McCullough stands in front of Henry Ford Hospital, where she received her liver transplant in 2011.
Blog, Stories of Hope | March 29, 2023

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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Philip Perry holds up a sign highlighting that 95% of adults support organ donation but only 57% have signed up to be donors.
Blog, Stories of Hope | March 1, 2023

Monroe man raises awareness about organ donation while waiting for a new heart

Philip Perry is trying to stay busy and remain healthy – anything he can do to keep his mind off the fact that he needs a new heart. “I’m trying not to think about the…

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Emily Polet-Monterosso in the foreground, hiking toward a snowy mountain peak.
Blog | February 20, 2023

Kidney donor reaches new heights

Shelby Township woman saved a life, then took on Mounts Everest, Kilimanjaro Emily Polet-Monterosso got healthy so she could give a kidney to a stranger, then started climbing mountains. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever…

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Sara Schmidt, who became an organ donor, hugs her mother, Donna Ternes
Blog | February 8, 2023

Michigan woman pens book about daughter, organ donation

“But God” chronicles difficult life that led to a decision to save others Sara Schmidt’s final act saved two lives. A registered organ and tissue donor, her gifts saved two other women – one in…

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Vickie Figeroa stands in front of several pews and stained glass windows
Blog, Stories of Hope | February 3, 2023

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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Two Black men at an information table sharing facts about organ donation
Blog, LifeLines | January 31, 2023

Don’t Let Misinformation About Organ Donation Affect Your Decisions

Don’t let misinformation about organ and tissue donation affect your decision to sign up as a donor and leave a legacy of kindness and generosity. Please consider this credible, accurate information as you make your…

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A woman sits on a pew inside a chapel with her hands clasped together in prayer
Blog | January 22, 2023

Most Common Organ Donation Myth

Most common myth: Doctors won’t work to save your life if you register to be an organ donor. It’s just not true. A terrified Terra DeFoe waited and watched in 2014 as doctors at Michigan…

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Two cartoon hearts with smiling faces high-fiving each other.
Blog | January 11, 2023

National Donor Day 2023

When is National Donor Day 2023? February 14 is a special day in the U.S. We all know it’s Valentine’s Day, but did you know it’s also National Donor Day? What is National Donor Day?…

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Blue, white and green infographic showing 2022: A Record Year with 463 organ donors and 1,821 tissue donors
Blog, News | January 9, 2023

Gift of Life Michigan sets record for organ, tissue donors in 2022

Gift of Life Michigan helped a record 463 people become organ donors and 1,821 give the gift of tissue last year, saving thousands of lives and healing tens of thousands more. The 2022 figures represent…

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can family override organ donation
Blog | January 8, 2023

Can Family Override Organ Donation?

Many prospective organ donors sometimes have concerns about whether their families may attempt to override their decision to donate after death.  Although most loved ones are committed to honoring the decisions of the deceased, the…

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who can donate a kidney
Blog | January 8, 2023

Who Can Donate a Kidney?

More than 90,000 Americans are waiting for a kidney transplant, so becoming a kidney donor can save lives. If you consider becoming a donor for a family, friend, or even a stranger, your generous gift…

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what organs can be donated
Blog | January 8, 2023

What Organs Can Be Donated

Organ donation and transplantation is one of the most significant modern medical advances, saving thousands of lives annually in this country.  Donors and their families secure lasting legacies by giving new life to those in…

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Portrait of Krishna and Pamela Sawhney
Blog, News | December 22, 2022

Bloomfield Hills couple pledges $125,000 to Gift of Life Michigan

Donation will support award-winning youth education program Pamela and Krishna Sawhney of Bloomfield Hills have donated $125,000 over five years to Gift of Life Michigan to support the organization’s award-winning student education program, All of…

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Blog, News | December 9, 2022

Legislation prohibits discrimination in organ transplant system

HB 4762 protects disabled patients, helps save lives Legislation approved in the Michigan House of Representatives today will help ensure equity within the organ transplant system in the state. House Bill 4762, sponsored by State…

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how to become an organ donor
Blog | December 1, 2022

How to Become an Organ Donor

Organ donation is one of the best medical advancements of the contemporary era. Unfortunately, organ demand is significantly greater than the number of organs available. Organ donation registration is easy. You can sign up to…

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Older couple standing in front of their house, arm in arm
Blog, Stories of Hope | November 23, 2022

After kidney and liver transplant, Michigan man is back out hunting

Rob Rudzki is living proof of the good organ donation can do. More than seven years after a kidney and liver transplant, Rob is still healthy, back out bow-hunting, and spending quality time with his…

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Donor Mother Teena Smith (left) and heart recipient Sharon Culbreath.
Blog | November 16, 2022

“It’s like I have a new family now”

Michigan woman meets son’s heart recipient Two years after her son died, Teena Smith heard his heart beating once again. Joseph Reaume died at 41 in 2020. Smith, along with Reaume’s three adult sons, agreed…

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