Aspirus honors organ donors and the lives they save during National Donate Life month

To honor organ, tissue, and eye donors and their loved ones, hospitals across the Aspirus Health system raised the Donate Life flag on Friday, April 22.

Aspirus staff gathered at the flagpole area, where organizers placed painted stones to recognize each individual whose sacrifice helped save a life.

“By raising the Donate Life flag, we are honoring the donation heroes that we have cared for within our walls and signaling our ongoing commitment to ensuring that the people who need a second chance at life will get one,” said Jeff Wicklander, SVP & Aspirus Wausau Hospital President. “I encourage everyone who hasn’t registered as a donor to do so today, and then share your lifesaving decision with your friends and family.  Registering as a donor relieves your family of the burden of making this decision at a time of sadness and grief.”

Currently, there are more than 100,000 men, women and children awaiting organ transplants in the United States, including more than 1,500 people here in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, not all these people will receive a second chance at life.

At Aspirus Wausau Hospital in 2021, there were 22 tissue donor heroes, 12 organ donor heroes, 33 organs transplanted enhancing 30 lives.

  • Approximately 6,000 people die each year (17 people each day) because the organs they need are not available.
  • On average, 150 people are added to the nation’s organ transplant waiting list each day.
  • A single organ and tissue donor can save or heal the lives of up to 50 people.
  • In 2021, more than 41,000 transplants from 20,300 donors brought renewed life to patients and their families and communities across the Unites States.
  • Many people don’t register because they think they can’t donate, which is often not the case.

Aspirus encourages residents in the communities it serves to give hope and help save lives by registering your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at, in the Medical ID tab of your iPhone Health app, or at the Wisconsin DMV. To those who have already registered their donation decision, thank you! Help continue to save lives by sharing the Donate Life message, educating others about the need and how their generosity can help save and heal lives.

Some important facts about organ, tissue and cornea donation:

  • Anyone can be a potential donor, regardless of age, race or medical history.
  • More than 1500 patients in Wisconsin are awaiting life-saving organ transplants. Thousands of others could benefit from healing tissue transplants. 
  • Kidneys are the organ in greatest demand—with an estimated 95,000 people across the nation awaiting one—followed by liver, heart and lungs. 
  • Because conditions such as diabetes and hypertension often are more prevalent in the multicultural community, these individuals make up more than 50 percent of those on the national organ transplant list.  
  • Living donation is an option for both kidney and liver transplantation. 
  • More than 170 million people are registered organ, eye and tissue donors.

Carol Davis and Dave Barber hold the Donate Life flag at Aspirus Riverview Hospital in honor of April being National Donate Life Month. In November, Carol donated a kidney on Dave’s behalf as part of UW Health’s paired kidney exchange program. Although her kidney was not a match for Dave and went to another recipient, her donation dramatically reduced Dave’s transplant wait time. In February, he received his new kidney from another live donor.

AWH staff place stones near the flagpole to honor donors.


Aspirus staff gather at the flag raising ceremony at Aspirus Plover Hospital.

Observers at AWH stand nearby as the flag is prepared to be raised.