Secretary Benson presents awards, premieres video to promote organ donation

Organ DonationAPRIL 24, 2019

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson celebrated April as National Donate Life Month by premiering a video about Michigan residents affected by organ, tissue and eye donation and by presenting awards recognizing outstanding efforts in promoting organ donation.

Benson joined partners Gift of Life Michigan and Eversight on Wednesday, April 24, for the event at Detroit Medical Center’s Harper University Hospital.

“One person can save and improve the lives of up to 75 people, and that’s a tremendous opportunity for every Michigan resident to have a positive impact elsewhere,” Benson said. “We’re encouraged that the number of people waiting for a transplant recently dropped below 3,000 for the first time since 2012, but the need for donors continues, so we’re sharing the stories of those most affected by donation to encourage others to save lives.”

During the event, Benson presented Shining Star Awards to Marge Del Greco and to the Detroit Medical Center. Shining Star Awards are given to groups or individuals who show exceptional dedication, outstanding support, novel partnerships or extraordinary efforts in the area of organ, tissue and eye donor awareness.

Del Greco of Farmington Hills is a two-time liver recipient who has co-chaired Team Michigan as part of the Donate Life Transplant Games of America since 2012 and volunteers extensively with Gift of Life Michigan.

The DMC hospital system was recognized for adding more new organ donors than any other hospital or hospital system in the state over the past three years. Since 2016, DMC has added nearly 2,700 names to the registry.

Also at the event, Benson debuted a new promotional video highlighting residents’ stories of donation. The video can be viewed at Michigan.gov/OrganDonation.

Benson was joined by Dorrie Dils, CEO for Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ and tissue recovery program; David Bosch, president of Eversight, the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit network that recovers and provides corneal tissue for transplantation; Jacqueline “Gennie” Snow, chief strategy officer for Detroit Receiving, Harper University and Hutzel Women’s hospitals; and Kelli Sewell, a kidney recipient.

“Our partners at the secretary of state are on the front line of donation and play a critical role in saving and improving lives,” Dils said. “When people join the donor registry, they give hope to patients who are desperately in need of organ, tissue and cornea transplants. At Gift of Life Michigan, we honor life through donation, and we are grateful for the collaboration with the secretary of state and her staff that makes it possible.”

Added Bosch: “Joining the donor registry is a decision that means the world for thousands of people awaiting life-giving or sight-restoring transplants. At Eversight, we see the impact every day that donors make in changing lives – helping us and the surgeons we work with to restore sight and prevent blindness.”

Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry by visiting Michigan.gov/OrganDonation or any secretary of state office. Those who sign up receive a heart emblem for their driver’s license that indicates their decision to be an organ donor. People will receive a heart-logo sticker when joining the registry at a secretary of state office or online. A new card with a permanent heart emblem is issued at renewal time.

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