2012 Workshop Presenters
Thomas L. Meredith
Thomas Meredith (second from left) is pictured above with his sons David and Tommy.
Each of my Sons were organ/tissue donors helping a total of 97 other people.
My Wife was a kidney recipient and died of complications arising from dialysis and a broken heart.
Because of the above, I am committed to a better quality of, as well as preservation of life through organ/tissue donor awareness, transplantation and research.
Download The Meredith Story. (JPG file)
Thomas and Barbara Meredith
Honoring the Legacy
Make your own Legacy Flag as a tribute to the one who donated the "gift of life." Bring pictures, poems or small symbolic items to attach to your flag. Flag making supplies will be provided.
Chaplain Peg McGonigal, BCC
My passion for organ and tissue donation began over a dozen years ago. As a cardiac staff chaplain for Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, I serve patients and their families before and after heart transplants. I am always so moved being with a patient just before the transplant – it can be such a tender time as they consider the gift they are about to receive from a stranger. After the transplant, we often talk about “the change of heart” they have experienced. Sometimes, I have the honor of sitting with families as they make decisions to donate their loved one’s organs. I am mindful of the love and generosity that precedes making such a gift possible. As a living donor advocate, I meet people who are thinking about donating their kidney to someone they know – or don’t know “because someone might need it.” How amazing is that? Regardless of circumstance, I am grateful to witness such generosity and stewardship.
Jeanette M. Potts, MS
Education and Development Manager
Donor Family Advocate
American Tissue Services Foundation
I have worked with Wisconsin tissue donor families since 2006. It has given me great pleasure to be an active member of Donate Life Wisconsin, and is an honor to co-chair the National Kidney Foundation Capital City 5K Run/Walk family remembrance event – Honoring the Legacy! I am also a member of the Communities for Hope of the Fox Cities – which focuses on community education and suicide prevention – and a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. My passion is for the donor families, many who are simply looking for meaning to the life that was lost. They’re looking to give back and complete the circle of life, to create that legacy and not allow their loved ones to be forgotten. Being a part of helping people through their grief and giving back to others at a time of deep personal loss, is what I feel called to do.
Just the Facts and Stats
Whether you are talking to one person or a group, you will want to know about Wisconsin's Donor Registry and the current facts and statistics about donation. Learn how to use Facebook and other social media to tell your story!
Gretchen Reabe-Budde works as a Hospital Development Coordinator with Wisconsin Donor Network and Wisconsin Tissue Bank, a service line of BloodCenter of Wisconsin. Gretchen joined the Wisconsin Donor Network in September 2008 with three years prior experience in tissue donation. In addition to earning her Bachelors of Science degree, Gretchen is finishing her Masters in Counseling and is nationally board certified in Thanatology (CT), which is sponsored by the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). In addition to her education, Gretchen brings extensive knowledge of policy development, organ and tissue procurement regulations, and process improvement through achieving key organizational goals. On a personal note, Gretchen shares the experiences of being a recipient family member as well as a donor family member. Gretchen currently resides in the Greater Milwaukee area with her husband and two daughters.
Lydia Ferri works as a Quality Specialist with Wisconsin Donor Network and Wisconsin Tissue Bank, a service line of BloodCenter of Wisconsin. Lydia has been employed with BloodCenter of Wisconsin for 6 years and has worked with organ and tissue donation for the past 2 years. Lydia has a BS in Health Care Administration. She has a passion for playing soccer and in February 2009 at a playoff game, she tore her ACL. Her sports medicine surgeon gave her the option of receiving tendons from a donor. Lydia has been a blood donor since she has been 18 years old and always had believed in organ and tissue donation. Lydia never thought that at some point in her life she would need to have tissue in order to repair a damaged knee. In April 2009, Lydia had her ACL repaired with tendons from a donor. Her recovery was fast and she was able to play soccer again. Her quality of life has been enhanced because of this generous and precious gift. Working at Wisconsin Donor Network and Wisconsin Tissue Bank has solidified Lydia’s belief that donation not only enhances the quality of life but also saves lives. Lydia is humbled to be part of such a great organization and will proudly continue to advocate for and promote organ and tissue donation.
Where in the World is Dottie?
After this workshop, you will have new ideas on how to promote donation when you go back home. Hear personal experiences from donor family members, transplant recipients and even the escorts of Dottie, Wisconsin's donation mascot!
My passion to promote organ and tissue donation began August 21, 2003 when my brother became a donor at the age of 20. I became involved with Dottie after meeting many individuals from the OPO. I started volunteering my time as Dottie locally around the Wausau area, which transpired to statewide. Three years after moving to Wausau I met various individuals from North Central Wisconsin Donate Life (NCWDL) and started my exciting adventure and had opportunities to see just how important donation is by working closely with a number of organ recipients. To see how it has enhanced their life and the lives of their family and friends. NCWDL spreads awareness about organ and tissue donatation through their annual Race '4' Life Scavenger Hunt and informational booths at various venues. I am fortunate that my family is also advocates for organ, tissue and eye donation.
My journey into organ, tissue, & eye donation began on November 10, 1996 when our son Dan, age 21, was left brain dead from injuries sustained in an alcohol-related car crash. We easily said yes when asked about Dan becoming an organ & tissue donor. Because we felt so good about making this decision and the fact that Dan had said yes to being a donor, I have been very active in promoting donation and educating individuals about how 1 person can make such a difference in the lives of so many. The more people we reach and talk to about donation the more donors there may be for the over 114,000 currently on the waiting lists.
John started volunteering shortly after receiving his heart transplant in 2007, first for the Wisconsin Donor Network - now part of the Blood Center of Wisconsin - and then for the UW OPO and the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin. His work includes:
- promoting donation awareness and donor registration at BCW/WDN/WTB booths at county and State fairs, blood drives, and church and corporate health fairs
- escorting Dottie Donor Dot at a wide variety of events throughout the eastern and southern parts of the state, and
- working with the Kidney Foundation's KEEP - Kidney Early Evaluation Program - screening program (he's "organ-agnostic")
John thinks it's okay to say, "I can never repay the debt" and "I just want to say 'Thank You'" in the same breath.