Life Without Limits: 2020 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar

Many transplant recipients tell us they experienced a sense of rebirth, and that receiving their gift of life forever changed their ability to live a full life. We're honored to help them discover there is no limit to what they can accomplish.

 

The selfless people who made the choice to become a living kidney or liver donor do so knowing they're changing the world for the better. They continuously impress us with their generosity and robust attitude for living their best lives.

 

We are proud to serve these people, and their strength motivates us to continue to focus on removing barriers, stretching our imaginations and creating opportunities that allow more lives to be saved.

 

Experience the 2020 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar Stories

 

January: Landen Wilke

Landen Wilke

Landen Wilke didn't want his parents to worry about his aunt, who had liver disease and needed a living liver donor. Both his mother and father were tested but unable to donate to her. So, he took a day off from lineman school and traveled to University Hospital to see if he was a match, and he was. Landen donated part of his liver to his aunt and was back in class just three weeks later. Now, he's newly married and a lineman apprentice with a bright future ahead of him. 

 

Read Landen's story

   

February: Family of Vern Maly

Family of Vern Maly

Vern Maly became an organ and tissue donor and started a chain reaction that affected thousands of people. He was the first organ donor at Sauk Prairie Hospital, and the team there created a video of his Honor Walk to the operating room that was viewed by more than 40,000 people on YouTube. Complete strangers registered as organ donors because they were touched by Vern's story. UW Organ and Tissue Donation shares Vern's video to help other hospital teams see the beauty of the gift of organ and tissue donation.

 

Watch the Maly family's story

   

March: Roger Sdano

Roger Sdano

Three years ago, Roger Sdano was in the hospital with serious heart problems. He missed his daughter's wedding, every major holiday, his birthday and his wife's birthday. When he received the gift of life with a heart transplant, he began to live his life to the fullest. He went hunting, fishing and hiking and even started a new hobby - tapping maple trees for syrup. Both his daughter and son have babies now, and he's confident he'll be able to fulfill his dream of helping to raise his grandkids.

 

Read Roger's story

   

April: Rykal Wasson

Rykal Wasson

When he was 11 months old, Rykal Wasson went into kidney failure and had to go on peritoneal dialysis. Eight months later, his mom, Lacey, donated one of her kidneys to him. Now at age 3, he's a "spitfire" and a caring, happy child. Rykal likes to show his "owie" to complete strangers. For him, his scar makes him gloriously different from other children. For his parents, Lacey and Wally, it's a reminder that he now has a very bright future.

 

Read Rykal's story

   

May: Lorry Adkins

Lorry Adkins

Before receiving a pancreas transplant, Lorry Adkins lived in constant fear. The Knoxville, Iowa woman had type 1 diabetes and suffered from hypoglycemia unawareness, meaning she never knew when her blood sugar levels were dangerously low. She nearly lost her life twice, but post-transplant, she can do anything without the fear of losing consciousness. Lorry earned her practical nursing license and now works in a family practice clinic. She enjoys gardening and painting in her free time.

 

Read Lorry's story

   

June: Marie Green Ganser

 
Marie Green Ganser

Teacher Marie Green Ganser witnessed one of her students decline, then transform to being happy and healthy after his kidney transplant. It made a big impression on her. She applied to be a non-directed donor, but later learned that Sara, a friend's friend, needed a living donor, so Marie directed her kidney donation. Marie's kidney went to Paul from Michigan, but at the end of an eight-person exchange, Sara got a kidney. An avid traveler, Marie recovered in time to make a trip to Switzerland and attended family weddings in the Netherlands and India.

 

Read Marie's story

   

July: Scott Bader

Scott Bader

When Scott Bader learned he needed a kidney transplant, he was concerned about side effects from the anti-rejection drugs. His surgeon invited him to participate in a new drug trial using belatacept - an antirejection medicine - instead of calcineurin inhibitors, which require chronic use of steroids. The study worked well, and Scott remains on belatacept. Now, Scott and his wife, Heidi, who donated a kidney for Scott through the National Kidney Exchange, can enjoy their work as real estate agents and their free time on the water with their dog, Dottie, without worrying about side effects.

 

Read Scott's story

   

August: Family of Steve Muenchow

Amy Muenchow with her twin daughters, Lindsay Clark and Holly Muenchow

As the daughters of a two-time kidney transplant recipient and a living kidney donor, twins Lindsay Clark and Holly Muenchow are uniquely equipped to encourage others to become organ donors. The sisters and their mom, Amy Muenchow, run Live. Love. Donate., a nonprofit whose mission is to save lives - one donor at a time - through education and fundraising. Everything they do is in memory of their dad and husband, Steve, a kidney transplant recipient (Amy was his donor) who died of lung cancer in 2014.

 

Read the Muenchow family's story

   

September: Casey McDermott

Casey McDermott

Casey McDermott of Fort Collins, Colo., proved himself to be one in a million when he donated part of his liver to a family friend's sister. He was the first person to undergo the procedure without opiates, and he was able to return to classes at Colorado State University just two and a half weeks after surgery. His decision to help someone in need hasn't slowed him down at all - in fact, he is even more motivated to stay in shape.

 

Read Casey's story

   

October: Bill Lawton

 
Bill Lawton

When Bill Lawton was diagnosed with liver cancer, both his daughters were pregnant with their first children and he feared he wouldn't live to meet them. But Bill had a liver transplant at University Hospital, and now he works out every morning to care for his new liver. At age 75, Bill says he feels like he's 50, with more energy than ever. He enjoys spending all that energy to care for his grandchildren and take them on fun outings.

 

Read Bill's story

 
   

November: Kim Messenger

Kim Messenger

When Kim Messenger learned his wife, Karen, would not recover from the stroke she suffered at age 41, his thoughts immediately turned to organ donation. Karen's gifts saved four people. Kim lives in Rhinelander, Wis., far from most UW Organ and Tissue Donation events. He drives miles to volunteer and has organized organ donation education events close to home. Kim enjoys staffing a table at his local Department of Motor Vehicles, where he reminds people to register as organ, tissue and eye donors.

 

Read Kim's story

   

December: Harlan Eckert

Harlan Eckert

Ten years ago, Harlan Eckert wondered if his life was coming to an end. He needed a lung transplant to survive. A Vietnam War veteran, Harlan was driven from his home in Nebraska to the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, one of two lung transplant centers approved by the Veterans Administration. He received his gift of life just days later. Harlan's new lungs allow him to go kayaking, repel off cliffs and work on his brother's dude ranch in Colorado.

 

Read Harlan's story