Recipient Helps Give Hope
When the bank where Andy Meicher works gave each employee a $100 bill to give to a charity, Andy immediately knew which one he would choose — the UW Health Transplant Program’s Mike Armbrust Transplant Fund. The fund supports transplant patients and families who need financial assistance for housing and other expenses.
Andy knows firsthand what it’s like to spend his days at University Hospital: When he was 17, he went into liver failure within a span of just three weeks. “Somebody called me yellow, and I thought they were calling me chicken,” he says. “Then I looked in the mirror, and the whites of my eyes were yellow. I started seeing doctors to find out what was wrong, and shortly after I came to UW Health, I went into a coma. When I woke up, I had a new liver.”
Because Andy was so sick, he was on the wait list for only a day before he received the gift of life. After the transplant, he spent about a month in the hospital, then went home to recover. He was fortunate, he says, because he lived just minutes away from University Hospital. Once he returned to high school, he could visit the hospital for a blood check first thing in the morning and still be at school in time for first period. For others who live farther away, however, the constant medical needs after a transplant can be financially draining, which is why he wanted to donate to the Mike Armbrust Transplant Fund.
Andy’s employer, Park Bank in Madison, asked each of its employees to post a picture of themselves donating the $100 bill on social media. Right after he posted the picture of himself in front of UW Health’s living donor wall, Andy received positive feedback from his friends and family. “Social media has the power to influence other people to donate,” he says.
The UW Health Transplant Program depends on a wide range of donors to continue supporting transplant recipients and their families, says Cheryl Bowman, operations director for the UW Health Transplant Program. “Some families have to spend months away from home caring for their loved one, and the lodging, food and transportation costs can be overwhelming,” she says. “We depend on donations of all sizes to help support our program. Every amount helps us support these patients and their families.”
If you would like to join Andy Meicher and Park Bank in giving to the Mike Armbrust Transplant fund, go to uwhealth.org/givehope and select Mike Armbrust Fund for Transplant Patients and Families.