Written by Nathan Mueller Staff Writer
It’s going to be a Valentine’s Day to remember at Art Moran Buick GMC in Southfield.
And there probably won’t be a dry eye in the showroom when transplant recipients, patients waiting for transplants and donor families gather to attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of heart transplant recipients in one place.
Tom Moran, president of Art Moran Buick GMC, said he is sure there will be a mixture of happy and sad tears at the event, but his main reason for hosting the record-setting attempt is to raise awareness for the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan.
“We just want to get the word out and educate people on what it means to donate,” he said. “We are really looking forward to it. It should be a fun, emotional day.”
The public is invited to attend the free event to learn more about the coalition and to sign up to be a donor. Anyone who signs up at the event or throughout the month of February at the dealership will receive a free car wash.
Moran has been promoting organ donation through his dealership for more than a year, starting with a promotion to purchase Donate Life license plates for new car buyers who sign up to be donors. Those who are already on the donor registry receive free oil changes.
Peggy Burkhard, marketing and public relations director for Donate Life Coalition of Michigan, said they will need a minimum of 50 heart transplant recipients at the event to set the record, but expects to exceed that.
Transplant centers at the University of Michigan Health System, Henry Ford Health System, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Beaumont Health System, Cleveland Clinic and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are all participating.
And while the Guinness World Record would be a great accomplishment, Burkhard notes it’s more about helping those in need.
“What we really want to do is educate the public,” she said. “The people that donate say it gives their loved one’s life more meaning and gives them closure.
“It’s almost as if the legacy of the person who died lives on through these recipients.”
There are more than 3,200 Michigan residents waiting for an organ donation and more than three million people have been added to Michigan’s Organ Donor Registry since its inception.
To join the registry, visit www.giftoflifemichigan.org or call 800-482-4881.
For more information about the Valentine’s Day event, contact Sherry Johnson at 248-229-8544. Art Moran Buick GMC is located at 29300 Telegraph Road, north of 12 Mile Road, in Southfield.
via Transplant recipients attempt to set Guinness World Record | Observer and Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Weeklies | hometownlife.com.