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Sharing stories of hope, inspiration, information and more!

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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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, Let's Talk | 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, Let's Talk, 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, Gift of 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, Let's Talk | 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, Let's Talk, 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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National Hispanic Heritage Month | Gift of Life Michigan
Blog | October 25, 2022

Hispanic Heritage Month Sept-Oct

National Hispanic Heritage month celebrates the contributions of Hispanic Americans as well as the histories and unique cultures of the American Latino community. It runs Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and features diverse activities and…

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Senator Kevin Daly stands at a podium in front of a Check Your Heart banner on the Michigan Capitol steps
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, News | October 11, 2022

Gift of Life Michigan calls for action as Michigan Organ Donor Registry grows at the slowest pace since its founding

About 2,400 patients are waiting in Michigan this month for a life-saving organ transplant. The best way to save their lives is to grow the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. More than 90% of all registrations…

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101-year-old Katherine Steck holding a flower arrangement. Katherine donated tissues after her passing.
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | October 10, 2022

What is the Age Limit for Organ & Tissue Donation?

Bert Steck was surprised to learn that his mother, Katherine, was a candidate for tissue donation. She was, after all, 101 years, five months, and three days old when she died in August 2022. “I’m…

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CEO Dorrie Dils talks to a small group standing in front of the new donor process mural at Gift of Life Michigan
Blog | October 10, 2022

New murals and displays educate and move visitors at Gift of Life Michigan

Foundation generously supports project to honor donors and celebrate recipients A stroll down the long hallway of Gift of Life’s Donor Care Center in Ann Arbor is giving visitors a look at how donation works…

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Man at podium in front of extra large screen showing photo of a little girl and her name, Amaia
Blog, Stories of Hope | October 10, 2022

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 smiling at camera
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | October 10, 2022

Staff Spotlight: For a decade, Stephanie Sommer has been the face of Gift of Life for MEs and funeral homes

Stephanie Sommer has visited more medical examiner offices in Michigan than most medical examiners. And then there are the funeral homes. Her work as senior medical examiner (ME) and funeral home liaison is about clearing…

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Woman holding a round floragraph with the image of her daughter on it
Blog, Stories of Hope | October 10, 2022

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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A woman with long brunette hair in a white dress and a man in a blue shirt and khakis stand arm-in-arm
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | October 10, 2022

Tracy and Holly: a Love Story

Tracy Gary and Holly Werlein-Gary almost never met, but fate and transplantation intervened. They both nearly died before finding each other and are now making the most out of their second chance at life. They’re…

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Blog, Let's Talk, Stories of Hope | October 7, 2022

Fenton couple draws on experience to promote organ donation

‘I wasn’t afraid of dying. There’s always hope,’ lung transplant recipient says
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Michigan Department of Natural Resources logo
Blog, News | October 6, 2022

Gift of Life Michigan, DNR team up to save lives

New partnership will ask hunters, anglers to ‘Check Your Heart’ Hunters and anglers in Michigan will now be asked a new question after they purchase or renew their licenses through the Michigan Department of Natural…

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Graphic celebrating 1 million organ transplants, with Gift of Life Michigan and United Network for Organ Sharing logos
Blog, News | September 9, 2022

U.S. reaches historic milestone of 1 million organ transplants

Gift of Life Michigan joins national ‘Living it Forward’ initiative to advance next million Ann Arbor, MI – The U.S. organ donation system has made history, surpassing 1 million organ transplants, according to the United…

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Mustafa Sharafi reading
Blog | September 6, 2022

Minority Donor Awareness Month

In a collaborative endeavor by the National (Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation) Multicultural Action Group (NMAG), National Minority Donor Awareness Month strives to educate and inspire multicultural communities to consider organ donation. NMDA members include…

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Blog | September 1, 2022

Foundation grant honors heart recipient who inspired many

  On Saturday, Aug. 27, a $10,000 grant was presented to the Gift of Life Foundation in honor of a Julia Evans, a heart recipient and cancer survivor, who inspired many. Sandy Chekal, an employee…

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Artelia Griggs and Donnie Parker wave as they finish the 5K walk
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, News | July 27, 2022

LIFE Walk returns to historic Belle Isle for 25th year

The annual LIFE Walk/Run drew nearly 2,500 people to Belle Isle in downtown Detroit for the event’s 25th anniversary honoring life, celebrating donor heroes and their families and promoting the Michigan Organ Donor registry.
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Transplant athlete signs Transplant Games of America flag
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | July 26, 2022

Team Michigan heads to San Diego for the Donate Life Transplant Games

Team Michigan is participating in more than 20 competitions and 60 special events through Wednesday, Aug. 3 at the Transplant Games of America in San Diego. Competitions range from pickleball to golf and tennis, basketball, track and field events, Zumba, poker, cornhole, bowling, badminton, and much more. There are also quilt-pinning ceremonies, a parade, workshops, and an expo designed to promote organ and tissue donation and celebrate recipients and donors.
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Donor father John Edmond at the podium on the Capitol Steps with a Check Your Heart banner behind him
News | July 26, 2022

Donation supporters rally for “Check Your Heart” at Michigan capitol

Supporters of organ and tissue donation, including transplant recipients, legislators, volunteers and more joined Gift of Life Michigan in Lansing to celebrate new life, honor donors and their families, and to urge others to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry at a Check Your Heart rally on the capitol steps.
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Municipal clerk holding map of Michigan
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | July 26, 2022

Make a Difference with Your Company through Organ Donation Awareness

Gift of Life wants to partner with workplaces, community organizations, and municipal clerks to promote donation, break down myths and misconceptions and ask employees or constituents to “Check Your Heart” to make sure they’re registered as organ, eye and tissue donors and, if not, to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.  
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Justin Shilling, who was killed at the Oxford High School shooting in November 2021 and became an organ and tissue donor
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | July 26, 2022

Mom helps Oxford High School students remember friend and classmate who saved six lives

Justin Shilling’s legacy as an organ and tissue donor is helping his mother navigate the depths of her grief. She wanted something for his 1,900 classmates, too. The Oxford High School senior was one of…

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Patrick Price, a bearded Black man with glasses in a blue suit, stands in front of a birthday cake and smiles at the camera
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Let's Talk | July 25, 2022

Saginaw man determined to regain health, mobility

Minorities often wait longer for organ transplants. Patrick Price is hoping he will one day receive a new kidney and return to the catering business he loves, but he knows he faces challenges getting there.   Patrick was diagnosed with diabetes at age 13, and lost a leg due to complications more than a decade ago. A recent surgery on his other heel means Patrick doesn’t meet the health requirements to be placed on the waiting list – a situation he is determined to overcome.  
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Donate Life Day at the Zoo flyer
News | July 25, 2022

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

Gift of Life’s largest outreach event returns to the popular John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids on Aug. 13.  Donate Life Day at the Zoo returns to an in-person event after the primarily virtual platform…

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Slide featuring Anne Kowalczyk, Gift of Life's long-time Chief Financial Officer
Blog | July 25, 2022

Gift of Life veteran leader receives national Lifetime Achievement award

After more than three decades in leadership at Gift of Life Michigan, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) has recognized Anne Kowalczyk with its Lifetime Achievement award. Gift of Life’s recently retired CFO was…

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Todd Hart in scrubs sitting in a survival flight helicopter
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | July 22, 2022

Staff Spotlight: Todd Hart is responsible for organs on their journey to transplant

Todd Hart saves lives by taking care of organs from the second they leave the donor until the moment they reach the recipient prepped for a lifesaving transplant. As an Organ Recovery Specialist at Gift…

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Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | July 22, 2022

Volunteer Spotlight: Recipient launches charity, raises money in honor of 20th anniversary of her lung transplant

Ronda Harrison never thought she’d live to see 50.   Born with cystic fibrosis (CF), the Spring Lake woman said she always knew her life had an early expiration date.   “I have always known I…

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How many lives can an organ donor save?
Blog | July 18, 2022

How Many Lives Can an Organ Donor Save?

With more than 106,000 Americans currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, there’s no question that we need organ donors more than ever. Every day, 17 people die waiting for an organ transplant. What if…

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How to become an organ donor. SewCream. Gift of life Michigan
Blog | June 29, 2022

How to become an Organ Donor

Did you know that more than 106,000 Americans are currently on the organ transplant waiting list? For everyone who decides to become an organ donor, up to 75 individual lives can be dramatically improved– think…

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organ donor facts
Blog | June 8, 2022

Organ Donation Facts

Each day, people enter hospitals in dire need of organ transplants. These people need more than medication or surgery to recover from their conditions – they require organ transplants to survive. With the demand for…

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A woman standing in front of a red brick wall holding a framed photo of a young boy
Blog, Let's Talk, Stories of Hope | May 16, 2022

‘Organ donation was the right thing to do’

Muslim donor mom encourages conversation about organ and tissue donation: “We need to talk about it,” Nameer said. “You’re doing the most honorable thing in the world. You’re giving life to someone.”
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Check Your Heart Capitol Rally with image of Michigan Capitol Building
Blog, Gift of LifeLines | April 27, 2022

Check Your Heart Rally at state capitol will advocate for action

Gift of Life Michigan and its partners, volunteers, donor families, and recipients are gathering in June at the state capitol building in Lansing to celebrate life and push for continued progress.  
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Newborn baby wrapped in orange towel with headband
Blog, Gift of LifeLines, Stories of Hope | April 27, 2022

Born a hero

Jade Townsend spent a brief time on Earth and made a big difference Baby Jade came into the world with all odds against her and left with a legacy that now defines her. She lived…

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