ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Join one of the largest single-day blood drives on the University of Michigan campus and register as an organ and tissue donor during Be a Hero at the Big House, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 12.
High above the University of Michigan football field in the Jack Roth Stadium club, the event, hosted by Wolverines for Life and others, is the half-way mark in the 36th annual American Red Cross Blood Battle against Ohio State University.
Jimmy King, part of the University of Michigan’s Fab Five, will sign autographs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. With games, giveaways, food and a mascot dance-off with Detroit Tigers Paws, the day is a celebration of life-saving donation.
More than 3,500 very sick Michigan residents are waiting for organ transplants and a new shot at life. Thousands of others need tissue to relieve their pain, heal their wounds and help them see again.
“Organ donors have a unique ability to help,” says John Magee, M.D., director of transplantation at Michigan Medicine. “Every transplant surgery is the result of a special pairing of a donor and the person who received their gift. Although every patient is different, most share a common refrain in recovery: None would be alive without the selflessness of others.”
Among those who’ve received the gift of life is Miguel Tomas Lucio, a singer who always had a strong voice and once recorded under a major label and earned a Latin Grammy nomination.
After a 2013 diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma — a liver cancer that would require a transplant for Lucio to survive — the artist has since lent his pipes to urge more people to register as organ donors.
The reason: “Not everyone survives the wait,” says Lucio, 48, a father of three who waited about a year to receive his new liver. “I know how lucky I am.”
Driven by personal experience, University of Michigan student Meghan Hoffman, 22, of Canton, urges college students to join the bone marrow registry. Young bone marrow donors are particularly important, as donors ages 18 to 44 provide the best chance of a successful transplant.
After being diagnosed in high school with a blood disorder, Hoffman received blood transfusions and eventually a bone marrow transplant. The gift of healthy donor cells came from her brother.
“I want bone marrow transplants to become common knowledge, viewed as essential and easy as donating blood,” she says.
If you don’t already have a red heart emblem on your license or ID, attend the Be A Hero event to sign up as an organ and tissue donor.
To make an appointment for a blood drive in the Blood Battle, Oct. 30-Nov. 22, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or make a donation appointment online at www.redcrossblood.org. Enter sponsor code “GoBlue” for a list of all drives on the U-M campus.