Hello, and thank you once again for your continued support of organ, tissue and eye donation! Gift of Life Michigan works every day to save and improve lives here in the state and beyond, and we couldn’t do this important work without you.

This has obviously been a strange and very challenging year, but Gift of Life Michigan has continued to honor life through donation, despite the unique obstacles posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are some highlights of our year so far.
Gift of Life Michigan rebounds from Coronavirus challenges

When the Coronavirus pandemic swept across the country, Gift of Life, like all other health care organizations and businesses, was forced to make major adjustments. Although critical transplant cases never ceased, many elective procedures were postponed during the early part of the year and both organ and tissue donations were down. Also, the closure of Secretary of State offices caused new registrations to decline, as well.

With additional safety precautions in place, donations, transplant procedures and new registrations are now at or above pre-Covid levels. According to our most recent estimates, Gift of Life is on pace to facilitate 1,093 organ transplants from 371 donors, meeting our target for 2020. 

You can read more on the Gift of Life Covid-19 update page.

Multicultural outreach moves into the virtual realm

With traditional community events postponed or cancelled altogether, Gift of Life has moved the multicultural education and outreach program, Let’s Talk, online.

We have recently revamped the Let’s Talk landing pages, captured new stories and concentrated on social media channels to engage multicultural communities about the topic of organ, eye and tissue donation. Gift of Life has hosted Let’s Talk Tuesday discussions on our Facebook page, hosted online forums and held virtual events.

“We are looking for new methods to engage our communities in this critical conversation,” said Remonia Chapman, manager of community outreach at Gift of Life. “By sharing our experiences, we can break through these myths, overcome these obstacles and save more lives.”

You can learn more at the Gift of Life Let’s Talk pages.

Gift of Life Michigan expands presence in the U.P.
Gift of Life Michigan has facilitated tissue recovery in the Upper Peninsula for many years. Now, its new facility in Marquette, coupled with the ability to recover bone and tissue at UP Health System – Marquette (formerly Marquette General Hospital), will allow for additional bone and tissue donors, offering more hope and healing to additional people.

“We were under-serving the area,” said Ryan Cormier, director of Tissue Services at Gift of Life Michigan. “This not only helps us be more efficient, it allows us to better serve the entire Upper Peninsula.”

Previously, those donors would have been transported to Gift of Life’s Ann Arbor surgical center, a trip that often took six hours. Since bone and tissue recovery is a time-sensitive procedure, every hour saved translates into a better chance of recovery.

You can read more here.

Join up, no matter where you are

Gift of Life has moved its events to its social media feeds this year. Moving traditional events online is not ideal, but there are benefits: You can take part, no matter where you may be. 

The annual MOTTEP LIFEwalk/Run, which traditionally took place on Belle Isle in July, became a week-long virtual activity that featured interviews, activities, healthy recipes and more. By the time it ended on July 31, it had attracted participation from more than 2,300 people in 13 different states and three countries.

The recent Virtual Donate Life Day at the Zoo brought the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids into attendees’ homes and smart phones, featuring stories of donors and their families, transplant recipients and exclusive, behind-the-scenes content as well as virtual safaris guided by zoo staff. You can watch the program here — golm.org/dldz

August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month

During National Minority Donor Awareness Month, Gift of Life, as well as organ procurement organizations across the country, focus on the need for multicultural donors, celebrate the stories of donor families and recipients alike and encourage everyone to lead healthier lives.

Here’s one such story, about 7-year-old Amaia Edmond, and the inspiring legacy she left behind.

Gift of Life Foundation grant awards

July marked the start of a new grant cycle for the Gift of Life Foundation. The Foundation’s annual grant program supports events and initiatives that provide educational opportunities surrounding organ and tissue donation and encourage people to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

Congratulations to this year’s grant recipients: Beaumont Health, Eversight, Ascension Borgess Foundation, Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak, Donate Life Coalition, Lenawee-Hillsdale Medical Examiner Office, National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, University of Michigan Transplant Center — Wolverines for Life and Western Michigan University School of Medicine.

Thankful recipient

Thanks to Gift of Life Foundation, I was able to continue to cover the medical expenses that followed after my kidney transplant that took place May 3, 2019. Gift of life helped ease the financial burden that I, as a recipient, was left responsible for. Their support allowed me to begin my career as a therapist without having to worry about the financial expenses that I had yet to cover.

Thank you, Gift of Life Foundation, for your generosity and for being part of my transplant journey!

Click here to help recipients like Karen.
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Gift of Life Foundation
3861 Research Park Dr
Ann Arbor, MI 48108