Scavenger Hunt Promotes Organ Donation
Every April, the residents of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, brace themselves for the strange, the wacky and the downright silly. That’s because April is the month when the Central Wisconsin Gift of Life group sponsors its annual scavenger hunt — a day-long event that raises awareness of organ donation.
Central Wisconsin Gift of Life is the brainchild of Jill Dillon, a living kidney donor, and Sara Solinsky, Jill’s kidney recipient.
Jill gave Sara the gift of life in July 2011, and since then, they have worked together to spread the word about organ donation. Following their surgeries, they became involved with the North Central Wisconsin Donate Life group and its annual scavenger hunt. When that group decided to stop planning the event, Jill and Sara organized their own group closer to home. This year will be their fourth scavenger hunt.
At the hunt, teams of four to six people gather at a central location in Wisconsin Rapids — this year it’s The Ridges Golf Course — and receive their lists and bags with any items they might need during the day. There are between 100-110 different options on the list — three-quarters of them are tasks the teams can perform, and one-quarter are items they can bring back at the end of the hunt. Each of the options has a point value between one and five. Participants won’t be able to complete all the tasks or collect all the items on the list, so they must choose which ones they think they can do. They receive more points for tasks that promote donation awareness, such as handing out a “Yes I Will” donation card. “That’s probably the most important part of this event — awareness,” says Jill. “People ask team members why they are doing these crazy tasks, and we encourage them to talk about organ donation.”
And yes, many of them are definitely crazy tasks. Some examples from the past include: making a human pyramid with another team, getting a team member’s picture taken with a man who has a long beard, and getting a picture of a team member eating a doughnut with a police officer. Jill and Sara work together every year to create the list.
After four hours of hunting around town, teams must return to The Ridges with their items, photos and videos to prove they completed their tasks. While committee members tally up the points, Central Wisconsin Gift of Life auctions off some donations and any items that participants picked up along the way (they receive extra points for asking a business to make an auction donation). Over the past three years, the group has donated $21,000 to the donor education fund at UW Organ and Tissue Donation and to the Restoring Hope Transplant House in Middleton.
This year’s scavenger hunt is on Saturday, April 21. Registration begins at 10 am at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, and the hunt will be from 11 am to 3 pm, with food, prizes and raffles to follow. The cost is $25 per person; a business sponsorship is $250, which includes up to six entries for team members, advertising on all promotional materials, business logo on t-shirts and recognition at the event. For more information, contact Jill Dillon at (715) 451-0909 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to join Central Wisconsin Gift of Life in giving to the UW OTD donor education fund, go to uwhealth.org/givehope and select Organ and Tissue Donor Education Fund.