2018 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar: Chad Larson
Chad Larson has led a life fraught with health issues. First, he underwent a leg amputation at age 16 due to a damaged growth plate in his knee. Then, he received the gift of life with a kidney transplant at University Hospital in Madison in 2005 (his older brother, Rick, was his live donor). Finally, he had yet another transplant in 2013 — this time, it was a combined pancreas-kidney transplant to cure his continual battle with diabetes.
Because of all these medical challenges, Chad has had difficulty finding and keeping a job. He has supported himself through Social Security Disability for several years. “That was one of those things I never wanted to do,” he says. “I get tired trying to do physical jobs, but I still have the mental capacity to work.”
So Chad has found his calling in a job that pays almost nothing, but gives him tremendous satisfaction — public service. Since 2000, he has served on the village board of Readstown, a town of 400 people in western Wisconsin. In 2015, he was elected president, and in 2017, he was re-elected to the position.
“I grew up in this town,” says Chad. “Everybody kind of knows each other here. I’ve always been well-known in the area — in high school I was elected student council president. Somebody’s always managed to nominate me when there’s something to run for.”
As village board president, Chad has served his community well. He initially ran for president because he had concerns over the previous president’s management of a number of scandals. Once he took over, he was able to clear up many of the problems and work with the village clerk to refinance the village’s debt and get the budget under control.
In return, his village has been very supportive through both of his transplants. Chad’s sister organized a fund-raiser to help him pay for his medical bills, and many local businesses contributed. These days, his constituents periodically ask him about his health.
“I’d just as soon try to maintain normalcy as much as possible,” Chad says. “I’m just trying to make Readstown a place that we can all be proud to live in.”