McLaren Bay Region Celebrates National Donate Life Month

All are encouraged to sign up to be a donor

BAY CITY, MICH – April is National Donate Life Month, designed to raise awareness of the importance of registering as an organ, cornea, and tissue donor to save and heal lives. McLaren Bay Region along with Gift of Life Michigan are working together to help raise awareness, break down misconceptions, and honor the stories of donors and recipients.

Mark Treiber, Exercise Physiologist at McLaren Bay Region, is the recipient of a life-saving kidney transplant from a co-worker who made the heroic choice to be a living donor. “I was diagnosed with kidney disease when I was nine years old – it was inherited from my grandfather who died at 33 from the same disease,” Treiber shared. “By the time I was 44, my kidney function was down to 20% which earned me a place on the kidney transplant list, where the wait at the time was on average four years. After two years on the list my kidney function was down to 12-14%, and I still had a long wait ahead of me,” continued Treiber. “One day at work in 2007, Amy Dore, a registered nurse and co-worker of mine at McLaren Bay Region, came to my office and said, ‘Hey Mark, I have two healthy kidneys and you can have one’. After extensive testing, she proved to be a match, and on August 22, 2007, I received my life-saving gift of a new kidney. I will never be able to thank her enough. Because of Amy and her selfless gift, I have been able to see my children grow up, get married, and live to meet my grandchildren.”

“I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done and the number of lives we’ve saved through the years,” said Dorrie Dils, President and CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “The need for registered donors is still critical, and we will continue to collaborate with our hospital and transplant center partners to work toward the day where nobody dies waiting for a life-saving gift.”

When a patient meets certain clinical triggers and death is imminent, the team at McLaren Bay Region team springs into action working closely with Gift of Life Michigan. Organ recovery can take place at McLaren Bay Region, or patients may be transferred to the Gift of Life center in Ann Arbor. In total, nine patients who passed away at McLaren Bay Region in 2021 graciously offered organs for transplant, either by being on the organ registry or by family consent. These nine patients helped save twelve other people’s lives.

Organ and tissue donation has been trending up in the U.S. for more than a decade. In 2021, more than 40,000 transplants were performed in the U.S. for the first time. In Michigan, 1,089 organs were transplanted from 429 donors, which represents about a 14% increase in donors over the previous year. Also, 1,464 people donated tissue and more than 250,000 names were added to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Even so, Dils said more needs to be done to raise awareness about the issue and to encourage more people to add their names to the Donor Registry.

In honor of National Donate Life Month, mascot Hartley T. Heart is stopping by McLaren Bay Region on Tuesday, April 26 from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in the lobby outside of the cafeteria. The community is welcome to visit Hartley and enter to win a prize. For more information about organ donation, or to sign up on the Donor Registry, visit www.golm.org or call 866.500.5801.