By Jessica Mathews /

April is National Donate Life Month and Livingston County residents and others across the state are being encouraged to join organ donor registries and help save a life.

The Michigan Organ Donor Registry is a confidential database that documents an individual’s decision to become an organ, tissue and eye donor. The Registry can only be accessed by Gift of Life Michigan to assist hospitals in the recovery and transplantation of organs and tissues.

One person can save and improve the lives of 75 people through organ, tissue and eye donation.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson recognized Donate Life Month during a press conference Wednesday afternoon with the Gift of Life Michigan CEO Dorrie Dils and organ recipient Amy Bacon.

Bacon received a donated heart about 10 years ago. After a sudden heart attack in 2009, her health deteriorated until she was diagnosed with end stage heart failure and placed in hospice care in 2012.

Bacon said she received her transplant on June 26th, 2012 and it was a wonderful gift but unfortunately, a lot of patients aren’t as lucky. She said some recipients can wait up to six months and she’s had friends who have died waiting for a heart. Bacon said not a day that goes by that she doesn’t thank her donor family for the ultimate gift in the midst of what she described as “the most heartbreaking, unimaginable experience any patient or loved one can think about”.

After her life-saving transplant, Bacon went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in public health administration and a master’s and doctorate in public health. She recently joined Gift of Life as a public education specialist. Bacon said “I’m living my best life. I’m trying to reach as many people as I can,” she said. “That’s why I’m here. I want to do my part to help other people”.

Benson said National Donate Life Month serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation. She said they’re proud to partner with Gift of Life Michigan to help people join the registry in numerous convenient ways through their website, at self-service stations, by mail and at local branch offices.

More information is available in the attached release and provided link.