U-M Athletics Receives National Donate Life Champion Award
Bruce Madej

Nov. 5, 2012

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan Athletics Department received a Donate Life Champions award from Donate Life America on Sunday (Nov. 4) in recognition of its support of organ, eye and tissue donation. Associate athletics director Bruce Madej accepted the award on behalf of the department during the second annual "Be a Hero at the Big House" donor drive event at Michigan Stadium.

As part of the "20 Million in 2012" campaign to register 20 million new people to state organ donor registries this year, Donate Life America is working with state affiliates to present more than 50 Donate Life Champion awards to well-known athletes, teams and other role models within the sports community who have demonstrated remarkable support for organ, eye and tissue donation.

As a partner of Wolverines For Life, U-M Athletics has helped generate publicity for the "Be a Hero at the Big House" donor drive and has hosted the event in the Jack Roth Stadium Club area of Michigan Stadium. The event has attracted a record number of donors who gave blood, signed up as organ donors, or were added to the bone marrow registry.

"We are very pleased to present this award to the University of Michigan Athletics Department, on behalf of Donate Life America," said Gift of Life Michigan CEO Richard Pietroski. "The U-M Athletics Department has helped tremendously in getting the message that donation saves lives to hundreds of thousands of people. We encourage all U-M fans to join the donor registry in honor of the Wolverines -- become a FanForLife, and show that you're a Wolverine For Life."

The Michigan football program also has has made contributions to Wolverines for Life over the past few years. This year, head coach Brady Hoke invited Wolverines For Life to his Monday press conference prior to the Minnesota game and expressed support for the U-M Transplant Center efforts to encourage blood, organ and bone marrow donations.

In its inaugural year, the Donate Life Champion awards are being given to select members of the athletic community from across the country who have inspired others to give the gifts of life, sight and mobility. National Donate Life Champions include pro golfer Erik Compton; NFL analyst and retired quarterback Boomer Esiason; Danell Leyva, gymnast and Olympic bronze medalist; the Arizona Diamondbacks; and San Francisco Giants coach Mark Gardner.

More than 115,000 Americans are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. More than 3,000 are waiting in Michigan. By working with sports figures and their loyal fans, Donate Life America hopes to radically increase the number of registered donors.

Fans of the University of Michigan are encouraged to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry in their honor, to become known as a FanForLife. Each FanForLife has the potential to save up to eight lives through organ donation and improve the quality of life for up to 50 people through eye and tissue donation. To join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry go to www.WolverinesForLife.org or call (800) 482-4881 or visit any Secretary of State branch office.

Gift of Life Michigan is the state's federally designated organ recovery organization, which acts as the intermediary between donors and their families, physicians and hospital staff. The Wolverines For Life is a collaborative effort of the University of Michigan community, dedicated to saving lives through donation.