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National Donate Life month begins

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 4:59 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Aspirus Wausau Hospital had a flag-raising today to mark the start of National Donate Life Month. Donate Life holds programs in April to make the public aware of the importance of organ donation.

“As people think about how they want to be remembered and recognized, it’s a great opportunity to give those who maybe have some unlucky circumstances a second chance at life,” said hospital President Jeff Wicklander.

The day’s speaker was Sarah Shroeder, a respiratory therapist at Aspirus, but is involved with Donate Life because of personal experience.

“I’m a designated requester for the state of Wisconsin so I have those difficult conversations with families during a very critical time, one of the hardest times of their life,” she said.

When Schroeder was 16, her father received a kidney and pancreas transplant as a result of diabetes. At the time her concern was mainly focused on her father. But she says working with families who have relatives that are donors has given her a different perspective.

“Just a couple of years ago his kidney failed, he received his second kidney donation and it was a totally different journey for us as a family this time. I prayed for that OR crew, I prayed for the family of the donor, knowing the pain, knowing what was going on with that donor patient,” she said.

Through her work, she also sees how a donation can help the grieving family. She said the families of the donor and recipient often forge a bond that can last a lifetime.

“It brings a new passion, a new sense of purpose for them and it changes their lives as well,” she said.

Wicklander added that donors often do not see the extent of how much they help. “To be able to impact anywhere up to 75 lives for an individual donor or healer is so important. And we know that the list is long and there is still a big need out there,” he said.

Click here to go to the Donate Life website.

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