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ThedaCare raises flag in recognition of National Donate Life month

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 3:57 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - Monday morning a small group gathered outside the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center Neenah to recognize Donate Life Month.

The group reflected on donations in 2020, which included more than 750 organ recipients, 900 tissue donors, and 1,000 cornea donors.

They also raised a “Donate Life” flag at 10:08 a.m. to represent the eight lives a single donor can save, and also to honor donors and their families.

“Just to give them recognition for their selfless gifts to help others have a second chance at life,” said Sue Broeren, who is the Organ, Tissue, and Eye donation liaison for the hospital.

Nationally more than 107,000 people are waiting for life saving donations.

Beyond the eight lives an organ donation can save, a single tissue donor can help more than 75 people and an eye donor can help two people.

“The impact that one person can have is truly astronomical, it’s huge,” said Chris Williams, an ICU nurse.

The Neenah Medical Center, as a neuro trauma center, sees many organ donor patients. It received a Silver Award of Hope from UW Organ and Tissue Donation in 2020 because 75 percent of all medically eligible donors at the Neenah Center end up becoming donors.

“Unfortunately we see families at their worst. They just lost their loved one,” said Williams. “So it’s very difficult on us on that side knowing that that family is losing their loved one.”

But those at ThedaCare who help facilitate donations believe helping others can provide peace to the donor’s family.

“I think that gives a lot of families, at least in my experience, peace knowing that their loved one is going on to live through others and something good can come out of something so tragic,” said Williams. “That really provides kind of a feeling of well-being among some families and they kind of rally around that actually.”

“It’s very hard, but you realize in the end there are recipients on the other end that can benefit from this so their life does have meaning,” said Boreren. “It’s not just you die and you’re done. You have meaning, you live on through others.”

With more people added to the transplant list daily, Boreren and Williams hope people will register to become donors themselves.

“The last statistic I had heard was one person goes on the waiting list every ten minutes. So, that’s quite a few people,” said Boreren. “So we need to get more to help these people out and give them a second chance.”

Learn more about organ donation and register to become a donor at donatelifewisconsin.org.

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