Remarkable Strength: 2019 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar

We all know people whom we describe as strong, but where does strength come from? Is it something we all have or must we create it ourselves? People who have experienced transplantation and organ and tissue donation have likely all redefined their own strength.


Donor families find the strength to cope with tragic loss while providing new life for others. Living donors harness their drive to heal, and recipients tap into their inner strength to manage their new life and all its expectations. We have the pleasure of watching families and patients find their own truly remarkable strength.


The people in this calendar are examples of strength in all its forms. They meditate, practice martial arts, paddleboard, kayak and run marathons. They do good things for others and take great care of themselves. They have all found their inner strength, and through it, remember the fragility of life.


We are proud to count these patients and families as part of our extended family of the UW Health Transplant Program and UW Organ and Tissue Donation. They are strong people and we are stronger for knowing them.


Stories of Remarkable Strength


Cover Story: Herb Heneman

Herb Heneman

Herb Heneman considers himself very fortunate. When he was receiving treatment before and after his liver transplant in 1991, he only had to travel a few minutes from his home to University Hospital. But Herb knows this isn't the case for many transplant recipients who come to Madison from every state in the nation. Some have financial worries from loss of wages, travel, housing in Madison and other transplant-related expenses. So Herb and his wife Susan opted to give a significant matching gift to support the Mike Armbrust Transplant Fund.


Read Herb's story

January: Bree Neuroth

Bree Neuroth

As she heads to volleyball practices, softball games and dance recitals, Bree Neuroth would prefer not to worry about her blood sugar. Now, the 16-year-old doesn’t have to. In December 2017, she became the first pediatric patient to undergo an isolated pancreas transplant at American Family Children's Hospital. 


Read Bree's story


February: Kerrell Johnson

Kerrell Johnson

Kerrell Johnson was determined not to spend the rest of his life in a dialysis chair. When a transplant program near his hometown of Roseville, Mich., told him he would wait five to seven years for a kidney, he found that unacceptable. He traveled to UW Health in Madison, where he received a new pancreas and kidney after waiting just three months.


Read Kerrell's story


March: Tony Arenas

Tony Arenas

Tony Arenas has always had basketball in his blood. As a child, he was a ball boy for the Milwaukee Bucks, and he played in his church's basketball league throughout high school. Now Tony coaches for that same league, teaching the sport's fundamentals to teenagers in his community. After receiving a lung transplant at University Hospital in October 2015, Tony had to take a year off from coaching to recover and undergo rehabilitation. Now he can get out on the court with his team and challenge them to do their best.


Read Tony's story


April: Beth Morley

Beth Morley

Beth Morley has endured many health challenges in her life. Through the power of meditation and mindfulness, she has kept herself centered and balanced. These skills came in handy when she needed a liver transplant after contracting hepatitis C while serving abroad as a nurse.


Meet Beth and watch her story


May: Bruce Wrotny

Bruce Wrotny

Just before Bruce Wrotny received a heart transplant in September 2017, he had lost 40 pounds and was in the best shape of his life. After waking up from surgery, he felt better than he had in a long time. He aims to continue that trend with his new heart. 


Read Bruce's story


June: Megs Emanuel

Megs Emanuel

Megs Emanuel and her son, Brody, bonded through their mutual love of physical activity. After Brody was killed in a motorcycle crash at age 19 and became an organ donor, Megs turned to hiking, martial arts and paddle boarding to keep Brody's memory close and help her grieve. She is a dedicated organ, tissue and eye donation volunteer. She knows Brody would be proud to know how many lives he was able to save after his life ended.


Meet Megs and watch her story


July: Charlie Kuehl

Charlie Kuehl

Charlie Kuehl's mom, Sarah, holds her breath every time he climbs on playground equipment. "The scarier it is for me, the more he likes it," she says. But she is thankful the 3-year-old is healthy and keeps her on her toes because two years ago, his future was uncertain. Charlie’s kidneys functioned at only 2 percent when he was born. Careful monitoring of his fluid intake and outtake was necessary until Charlie's dad, Jeff, could donate a kidney to him in May 2017.


Read Charlie's story


August: Tracey Hulick

Tracey Hulick

As a child, Tracey Hulick began running because she saw the positive effect it had on her mother. Eventually, she began competing in marathons, but started to burn out when she was in her late 30s. That's when she revisited the idea she had been pondering for years - becoming an altruistic kidney donor. Tracey donated in May 2017 and considers it one of the most important things she’s ever done.


Read Tracey's story


September: Dawn Lyons-Wood

Dawn Lyons-Wood

Dawn Lyons-Wood's daughter Emily was wild about golf. In high school, Emily was captain of the girls' golf team. After losing Emily in a snowmobiling accident in 2015, it was completely fitting that Dawn, and Emily's friends, would honor her by planning an annual golf tournament in her name. Because Emily was an organ donor, the golf outing benefits the UW Organ and Tissue Donation Educational Fund, which, like Dawn, works to spread the word about how organ donation can save lives.


Read Dawn's story


October: Randy Szleszinski

 Randy Szleszinski

When Randy Szleszinski heads out on the Rock River with his kayaking club, the 58-year-old routinely outlasts some of the younger members. "I'm in better shape than half those people out there," he says. "I can do anything anybody else can." Nineteen years ago, Randy's Type I diabetes took a turn for the worse and he wondered what his future would hold. But, he received the gift of a new pancreas and kidney in July 2000 at University Hospital.


Read Randy's story


November: Michael Rosario 

Michael Rosario

Being a firefighter isn't just an occupation for Michael Rosario. His fellow firefighters are a big part of his support system. When Michael was on dialysis for six months, his fellow firefighters at Beloit Fire Station No. 3 drove hours out of their way to take him to his appointments. Then, Michael's brother Steven donated a kidney to him, and he was soon back to full strength at the station.


Meet Michael and watch his story


December: Tommy Sullivan

Tommy Sullivan

Tommy Sullivan and his sister Sydney have always been close. They both love CrossFit, a high-intensity fitness program that incorporates elements of several sports. When Sydney needed a liver transplant, both Tommy and their sister Meredith wanted to donate part of their liver. They live in Tulsa, Okla., but traveled to University Hospital in Madison for the transplant because of the program's expertise in living liver donation.


Meet Tommy and watch his story