SOUTHFIELD — Getting old isn’t something Erik Morganroth dreads these days.
In fact, the Birmingham resident cannot wait to celebrate his birthday every year because, as a two-time heart transplant recipient, there were times when he didn’t know if he would make the next one.
“I’m in a rush to get older and to see my daughter get married,” he said. “Every day you feel fortunate to have a life.”
Morganroth celebrated that gift of life Friday afternoon at Art Moran Buick GMC in Southfield, and was among the 132 heart transplant recipients on hand to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of heart transplant recipients in one place.
The event was organized by the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan, and transplant recipients came from transplant centers at the University of Michigan Health System, Henry Ford Health System, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Beaumont Health System, Cleveland Clinic, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Stanford Hospital.
In total, the people on hand were celebrating 1,318 years of additional life, thanks to transplants.
Peggy Burkhard, marketing and public relations director for Donate Life Coalition of Michigan, said the event was one of the five most rewarding days of her career.
“It was the people who truly made this event special,” she said. “It was so humbling.”
Berkley resident Mike Roman waited 15 months before he got his new heart in 2009, and five years later, he remains healthy and is an active volunteer with Gift of Life.
“Our donors are the true heroes,” he said. “All we did was get sick.”
The event, which was highlighted by the record, also was being used to raise awareness and sign up donors.
Tom Moran, president of Art Moran Buick GMC, has been promoting organ donation at his dealership for more than a year, and is offering a free car wash to anyone who signs up for the donor registry at the dealership.
via Heart transplant recipients set Guinness World Record Friday afternoon in Southfield | Observer and Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Weeklies | hometownlife.com.