Cynthe Grey's life forever changed with a telephone call in October, 1994. The person on the other end of the line had just delivered shocking news. Her son Philip had suffered major brain damage from a fall and doctors told her to get to his bedside. “Things didn't look good, but as a parent, you are always hopeful,” said Grey, who spoke Wednesday to members of the Redford Chamber of
Doctors told Grey her young son had no chance to recover. A surgeon soon inquired about organ donation.
“The first thing that came out of my mouth was ‘yes,'” Grey said. “I was a blood donor and thought it was the right thing to do. He saved five lives.”
Grey, like so many others, became a “donor mom” due to the worst of circumstances. She had to say goodbye to her son to offer the gift of life to others.
“Most people get a call from the hospital after a loved has been in an accident,” she said. “They may have seen that person an hour ago when they were fine. It's a double whammy. You're thinking about your child dying and they are asking you to donate his organs.”
She advised chamber members to talk about organ donation with their families and encouraged everyone to become a registered donor at
“That little sticker on the back of your license is obsolete,” she said.
People who sign up will get a special heart sticker for their driver's license. People also have the option of getting an enhanced license that includes donor status.
“About 19 people die every day waiting for a transplant in this country,” she said. “Please sign up. If you don't, how will people who need help get it?”
According to the latest statistics at Gift of Life Michigan, there are 2,382 people waiting for a kidney, 336 for a liver, 88 for a heart and 49 for a lung transplant.
Grey once received a letter from the daughter of a man saved by Philip's gift, but hasn't heard from anyone else since.
“Communication between donor families and recipients is a lot more common now,” she said. “People are even becoming close friends these days.”