2019 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar: Herb Heneman
Herb Heneman considers himself very fortunate.
When he was receiving treatment before, during and after his liver transplant in 1991, he only had to travel a few minutes from his home to University Hospital in Madison. What's more, he had a strong support system rallying around him: his wife Susan, his two teenaged sons and friends and colleagues who lived in the area. But Herb knows this isn't the case for many UW Health transplant recipients who come to Madison from every state in the nation. Some families have financial worries from loss of wages, travel, housing in Madison and other transplant-related expenses.
Hearing this, Herb and his wife Susan opted to give a significant matching gift to support the Mike Armbrust Transplant Fund. This fund provides financial assistance to transplant patients and their families by helping defray the cost of accommodations, travel and other expenses. Mike is the retired director of the UW Health abdominal transplant program and was loved by his patients. "Mike was my transplant coordinator for more than 20 years," says Herb. "Susan and I wanted to donate to help transplant recipients, and to honor Mike. We decided we wanted to give our gift in a way that would encourage others to participate, so we decided to offer a $1 to $1 match until the match fund is met to anyone who would join us in support of the Armbrust fund."
On October 1, 1990, Herb entered a residential treatment program for his alcoholism. He has been sober and in recovery since then. While he was in the program, he learned he had suffered considerable liver damage and would need a liver transplant. On Oct. 22, 1991, he worked a full day as a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Business and was preparing dinner with Susan when the phone rang. He picked up his bags and headed to the hospital, and the next day, he was the grateful owner of a new liver. He had received a second chance.
Over the past 27 years, Herb has expressed his gratitude in many ways: He competed as a swimmer on Team Wisconsin in four different U.S. Transplant Games, he has visited patients and talked to families on University Hospital's transplant unit and he currently serves on the transplant program's Patient and Family Advisory Council. "I received support from so many people that I feel a need to pay it forward," he says. "As recipients, we are constantly in the debt of others. It is important for us to acknowledge that - by giving both our time and our money."