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Organ donating effort lauded at Portage Health in Hancock

August 10, 2010
By KURT HAUGLIE Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - Leroy Rogers received his first donated kidney from his 66-year-old sister, and it lasted 11 years.

Fortunately, he was able to find another compatible kidney from someone else close to him; his wife, Edith.

Leroy Rogers said he has type B-positive blood, the second rarest, so the fact Edith could donate was special for him.

"It was a gift from the Lord," he said.

Edith Rogers agrees with Leroy's assessment of divine intervention.

"It was God," she said. "It really was."

The Rogers, who are from Ontonagon, were attending a ceremony at Portage Health acknowledging the efforts of the hospital staff to increase the number of participants during the hospital's Donor Drive 2010.

Karen Kelley, director of the Portage Health Dialysis Center, said since the drive began in April, 230 donors have signed up using the hospital's name.

"This is important to us," she said. "We've made a commitment to increase the organ donation to 400 by the end of 2010."

Kelley said the Portage Health drive seems to be doing well compared to similar hospitals in the state.

"We are leading the effort of all small community hospitals," she said.

Portage Health is fifth overall in the state in its effort to get more donors, Kelley said.

There are about 3,000 people in Michigan waiting for organ donations, Kelley said, some of them locally.

"We still have a lot of work to do," she said.

Kelley introduced Tim Makinen, corporate communications director of Michigan Gift of Life in Ann Arbor, coordinators of the donor drive in the state, and the state's federally designated organ recovery organization.

Makinen said people at Gift of Life have been impressed with the efforts of Portage Health.

"Portage has been such a great leader in this campaign," he said.

There is a great need for donated organs throughout the country, Makinen said.

"Nationwide, there are more than 108,000 (people waiting for donated organs)," he said.

Makinen said in Michigan, the system of indicating a desire to donate organs is no longer done on the back of a drivers license or state identification card.

Now, information, which remains confidential, is taken online at



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