(CBS DETROIT)– As part of its 50-year celebration of saving and improving lives, Gift of Life Michigan held an open house Wednesday. Families of organ donors got the chance to tour and learn more about the facility they trusted with the organs of their loved ones.

Some organ recipients were also there, sharing their stories of survival through organ donations.

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“My health declined drastically to a point where some of the doctors weren’t sure if I was going to make it from day to day,” said Double Lung Transplant Recipient Debora Dearring.

In April of 2015 Dearring received shocking and scary news. Doctors telling her, she needed a double lung transplant in order to survive.

“They told me at that time that I could not leave until they found lungs for me and because of my high antibody level that was sort of had to do. It was determined that I may not have lungs available and I would have to wait and see,” Dearring said.

Thankfully, 7 months later Debora did receive new lungs. She’s one of thousands in the state to receive lifesaving organs and tissue every year through the organization, one that’s made tremendous strides in the past 50 years.

“We have facilitated nearly 10,000 organ donors and nearly 25,000 tissue donors so from those donors, thousands and thousands of transplants have occurred,” said President & CEO for Gift of Life Michigan Dorrie Dils.

In the US over 100,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, and 2,500 are in Michigan.

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Today Derring is doing well, and is forever grateful to the donor who lives on, with every breath she takes.

‘I try to make sure that people understand that each day is so important, it is something we can’t take for granted,” said Dearring.

About Gift of Life Michigan

Founded in 1971, Gift of Life Michigan is a federally designated organ procurement organization that serves the state of Michigan as the intermediary between donors, their families, and hospital staff. In collaboration with Eversight, Gift of Life provides all services necessary for organ, eye, and tissue donation. For more information, or to sign up on the Donor Registry, visit .golm.org or call 866.500.5801.

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