Future health professionals compete to help patients on organ transplant waiting list

GRAND BLANC — Since 2019, nearly 2,200 new organ and tissue donors have been registered in Michigan, thanks to the efforts of students across the state.

The students, from Grand Blanc Health Occupation Students of America – known as GBHOSA-Future Health Professionals – are gearing up for the fourth statewide competition with other Michigan HOSA chapters to register new organ and tissue donors and inspire support for organ and tissue donation.

The Gift of Life HOSA Challenge takes place the first weeks each November, with dozens of schools across Michigan taking part. Schools are awarded points for each new donor they register, as well as activities they coordinate to educate their peers about organ and tissue donation.

Samantha Pohl, assistant director of Michigan HOSA, says: “With over 7,000 HOSA members spread across the state, this challenge is a fun way to make our organization feel more cohesive, all while spreading awareness of organ donation. We are thankful for this opportunity with Gift of Life and appreciate them taking an interest in future health professionals.”

Lyniece McNair-Levi, Grand Blanc HOSA Advisor and Medical Occupations educator at Grand Blanc High School, is passionate about this challenge. Being a two-time tissue recipient, she is particularly aware of the improvement in quality of life that donor tissue affords.

“Participating in the Gift of Life HOSA Challenge isn’t just about winning, although that is always fun<’ said McNair-Levi. “The more important aspect is it allows our students to integrate two of GBHOSA pillars, Community Involvement and the GBHOSA Family.”

She said the biggest challenge the club has faced is the amount of misconceptions about the organ donor registry.

“There is so much medical misinformation regarding tissue and organ donation. So, the GBHOSA members have to research and work together in committees to create activities to educate our community. In the process they are also bonding,” said McNair-Levi.

Senior Executive Leader and third year GBHOSA member Nazim Ali has similar passion.

“Gift of Life Challenge is a means for Michigan HOSA students to experience the thrill of making an impact in their community,” he said. “The feeling of knowing that you’ve helped potentially save lives in your community is an indescribable joy.”

There are more than 107,000 people waiting for a new organ in the U.S., including 2,463 in Michigan. A single donor can save up to eight lives and help as many as 75 more through donated tissue.

“This has been an important partnership for us,” said Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “I am always impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and creativity these students show in educating the community and advocating for organ and tissue donation. Each new registration brings new hope to the many people waiting for a lifesaving transplant.”

Next November, remember to sign up in honor of one of three local schools, Grand Blanc HOSA, Davison HOSA and Powers Cathlic HOSA visit bit.ly/HOSAchallenge

The complete list of participating schools is available at www.golm.org/hosa.