Terry and Rita Jones Give in Gratitude for “Second Chance at Life”

Gift through trust will support transplant medicine at Henry Ford

Many of the most pivotal moments in Terry Jones’s life have taken place in hospitals.

The retired dental sales professional began his life on a surprising note, when he was born as an unexpected twin to his brother Norman in the days before routine ultrasounds and prenatal screenings.

Another happy surprise occurred when Terry was admitted for a routine surgical procedure as a college student and struck a chord with a nurse named Rita who worked on the ward. He asked for Rita’s phone number before being discharged, sparking a lifelong partnership and marriage that continues today.

Terry has also spent a lot of time in hospitals navigating a wide array of health challenges, including hepatitis C, a heart attack and hemophilia — “By the time I was a teenager I’d had over 1,000 blood transfusions,” he recalls.

One of the most shocking of these experiences was hearing from Marwan Abouljoud, M.D., Division Head for Henry Ford Health Transplant, that he had liver cancer and would need a transplant to survive.

“I like to say I hit the trifecta when I had my transplant at Henry Ford,” Terry said. “It cured my cancer, it cured my hemophilia, and after a round of interferon treatments, it cured my hep-C.”

Since that procedure in 2007, Terry has enjoyed fourteen rich and eventful years, returning to work, spending time with his three kids, serving as a volunteer mentor for other transplant patients and celebrating the birth of his grandchildren.

Terry has been boosted through his ups and downs by an inspiring attitude centered on gratitude, optimism and faith. His family was again challenged in 2020 when Rita was diagnosed with leukemia. As before, they turned to Henry Ford, where Rita received a stem cell transplant.

“We both have a lot to be thankful for, and I can’t say enough about the doctors and nurses and staff at Henry Ford,” Terry said. “Because of that, we have a burning desire to give back in gratitude for the second chance at life we’ve both had.”

For Terry and Rita, giving back includes supporting Henry Ford philanthropically through their estate by establishing Henry Ford as a beneficiary of their trust. Their gift will be used to help future transplant patients through research, care programs and support for emergency needs.

“It’s been a blessing to be able to do this. At the time of my transplant, I had no grandkids, and now I have six. I wouldn’t have been present for any of that if not for my transplant,” Terry said. “One of the reasons for sharing my story is that hopefully someone will read it and have the inspiration to give back, too.”

For more information on opportunities to support great care at Henry Ford Health through your will or trust, contact Senior Gift Planning Advisor Joe Impellizzeri at (313) 874-6038.

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