Gift of Life MI spotlights organ donations with concert
Singer Tim Bowman Jr. to perform Sunday at New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church during event that reflects on the importance of saving lives by organ donation
This weekend is National Donor Sabbath, when the Gift of Life Michigan asks the wider faith community to reflect on the importance of organ donations in saving lives that would otherwise be lost.
Among the many congregations observing will be the New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church on Detroit’s west side, where the eighth-annual Sounds of Saving Lives Concert will spotlight the issue starting at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
The concert is free.
“We try to get faith leaders, donor families, recipients — everybody in the transplant community to talk about this important issue,” said Remonia Chapman, director of the Gift of Life Michigan Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program.
“We’ll have a mix of facts and statistics about organ and tissue donation,” she added, “and awards. Then we’ll have music.”
Musical acts will include rising gospel great Tim Bowman Jr., local violinist Bertrina Thomas, Messiah Baptist Church’s Music Ministry, and Zeal, a praise group from Detroit’s Conventional Missionary Baptist Church.
The city of Detroit will be presented an award for helping people sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
Sounds of Saving Lives will be emceed by Bobby Howard and Terra DeFoe.
DeFoe’s late son was an organ donor.
“Since then,” Chapman said, “she’s become a very strong advocate.”
On balance, Chapman said, things have been trending in the right direction among Detroit’s minority communities.
“We’ve seen an increase in our donation rate,” she said. “Unfortunately, because the need is still so great, there’s a lot of opportunity to increase that.”
In 2016, 299 Michigan organ donors resulted in 876 life-saving transplants.
But nationally, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are about 125,000 Americans on waiting lists. In Michigan alone, 2,620 individuals are waiting for new kidneys.
Chapman wants everyone to know that registering to be an organ donor is painless and free.
“You don’t have to wait until you renew your driver’s license,” she said.
You can go to giftoflifemichigan.org and register, or call (800) 482-4881. It only takes a couple minutes.
The important thing, Chapman said, is that people discuss what they’d like done with their organs after their death.
“Having that conversation is so important,” she said. “Life continues to give — even after our earthly life has ended. We still have a beautiful opportunity to help.”
Sounds of Saving Lives Concert
6330 Pembroke, Detroit
4:30 p.m. Sunday