With heavy hearts that continue to heal, donor families from across Michigan will gather Sunday, Oct. 19, as Gift of Life Michigan pays tribute to last year's organ and tissue donors at the Michigan State University Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. Through the generosity of donor families, 862 Michigan patients received an organ transplant last year, including 37 children. Thousands more received cornea and tissue transplants.
Donor family members will bring a personalized quilt square to add to a series of Michigan Donor Family Quilts at an open house at 1 p.m. These woven treasures symbolize the individuality and essence of their loved ones who gave the ultimate gift. There are currently 24 completed donor family quilts.
The remembrance ceremony follows at 2 p.m. and concludes with a reception.
New this year, Gift of Life Michigan will provide free, chartered bus transportation to those coming from the Detroit area. The bus will pick up families at Providence Hospital's Medical Office Building in Southfield in the morning and return later in the day. There are more than 45 donor family members planning to take the bus. With the price of gas and a weakened economy, bus service will provide families who may not otherwise attend an opportunity to honor their loved ones.
This year several pediatric transplant recipients will participate in the ceremony, assisting donor families in writing personal messages to their deceased loved ones on a large felt heart which will be carried forward to begin the ceremony. The children will also share a few words of thanks for their transplants with the donor families. Among those attending are Abigail Uranga, 12, of Ann Arbor; Sarah Gravel, 9, of Madison Heights; Marisa Hammel, 5, of Flat Rock and Shay Ziff, 4, of Bloomfield Hills.
Gift of Life Michigan is the state's only full service organ and tissue recovery organization, which acts as the intermediary between donors, physicians and hospital staff. Gift of Life Michigan, in collaboration with the Michigan Eye-Bank, provides all services necessary for organ, tissue and eye donation. To sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry or update your registration in order to receive a red heart donor sticker for the front of your driver's license or state ID, visit Gift of Life Michigan or call (800) 482-4881.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves