Southfield (CW50) – Over 2,500 people in our state are awaiting organ transplants, which Dorrie Dils, CEO of the Gift of Life Michigan – an organization celebrating its 50th anniversary of connecting donors, those in need of a transplant and the medical community — talked about as she explained the importance of people signing up to be an organ donor.

Michigan Matters Host Carol Cain, with Dorrie Dils, CEO, Gift of Life Michigan

Currently, 58 percent of people in Michigan have signed up to be an organ donor – most when renewing their driver’s license she said on CBS 62’s “Michigan Matters” which airs 8 a.m. A donor can potentially change the lives of eight people she told Carol Cain, Senior Producer/Host.

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Michigan Matters Host Carol Cain, with Dr. Terra DeFoe, Advisor to Mayor Mike Duggan

Then Dr. Terra DeFoe, Senior Advisor to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, appeared and told Cain she has been working with Gift of Life as her family has been impacted by donors. Her 24-year-old son, Emilio, died unexpectantly of a heart attack. He had  signed up to be a donor when he was 18. Dr. DeFoe supported  his decision and his body was donated.

Dr. Terra DeFoe with her son Emilio, who was an organ donor after his unexpected death when he was 24 years old

She has history of organ donors. Patricia DeFoe,  Dr. DeFoe’s grandmother, had had a cornea transplant thanks to a donor and is doing well today.

Dr. Terra DeFoe, her son Emilio’s daughter, and her grandmother, honoring Emilio, who was an organ donor after his unexpected death when he was 24 years old

Dr. DeFoe talked about people of color being in greater need of organ transplants, yet, they are more reticent to signing up to be  donor. She is working to raise the conversation.

Michigan Matters Host Carol Cain, with Linda Smith-Wheelock, President & CEO, National Kidney Foundation of Michigan

Then Linda Smith-Wheelock, President /CEO-National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, appeared to talk about a health crisis as too many people have kidney disease. Over one million people in our state have kidney problems – yet most don’t know it.

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Smith-Wheelock discussed a new program they recently launched with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to help prevent chronic kidney disease.

Michigan Matters Host Carol Cain, with Dr. Silas P. Norman, Transplant Nephrologist, University of Michigan Health

And Dr. Silas  Norman, Transplant Nephrologist at the University of Michigan who works with the  Kidney Foundation of Michigan and the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP) talked about the importance of kidney health.

He explained diabetes and heart issues are sometimes precursors to having kidney problems.

He raised health issues minorities have with diabetes and  heart disease and how people can improve their health through things like diet, food and more.

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Watch Michigan Matters, Sunday at 8am on CBS 62