Finding a match: Why bone marrow donors are so important

Jake and his mom.

Jake and his mom

Are you a donor? I am. I regularly donate blood, and I’m proud to show off the orange sticker on my driver’s license that says I’m willing to be an organ donor. But there’s another way you can donate life to someone in need. You also can be a bone marrow donor.

Bone marrow transplants aren’t just for cancer, they’re for a whole group of people with non-cancerous diseases. I recently had the pleasure of meeting a little guy from San Francisco who personally knows how important bone marrow donors really are. Jake is 5 years old, and he’s been diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a blood disorder where the body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough new blood cells. To put it simply, this can …Continue reading →

A heart transplant gave me a second chance at life

Deb and her son, Alex.

Deb Wallner and her son, Alex.

April is National Donate Life Month, and I am here today because I received a second chance at life. I’m the very fortunate recipient of another person’s heart. When I type or say it out loud, it still seems so surreal and so long ago. But it was only a little more than 8 years ago that congenital heart disease rapidly deteriorated my heart and I was told I needed a transplant.

Since my successful transplant, I have witnessed many of my son’s major milestones and in a few months, I will …Continue reading →

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Wisconsin Champion

Vincent Forseth, 12, received a heart transplant at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin a week before his seventh birthday. He was selected for his courage to represent Wisconsin for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champions program in 2011. Vincent was the first child in the Midwest to receive a Berlin Heart, a ventricular assist device, to keep him going until a donor heart could be found. Champions like Vincent have dealt with a wide variety of injuries and illnesses. A special ceremony was held for Vincent Wednesday at a Walmart store in Madison, where he was surprised with a $500 shopping card, a performance from the University of Wisconsin marching band …Continue reading →

Donate Life

Are you looking for that extra special present to give someone?
 Well how about giving up a little bit of yourself, or more specifically one of your organs, your blood or marrow?

Becoming an organ, blood or marrow donor holds the promise of life for thousands of patients with life-threatening conditions and diseases. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has seen the impact that organ donation can have for children and families awaiting a transplant. We perform heart, liver and kidney transplants. Many of our children wait …Continue reading →

The U.S. Transplant Games kick off in Madison next week!

Starting Friday, July 30 Madison will be the home to the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games®, organized by the National Kidney Foundation. The city will be abuzz with thousands of people from across the country, including transplant recipients, living donors, donor families, transplant professionals and friends and family members, gathered to celebrate the lives touched by organ donation and transplantation.

The Olympic-style competition is held every two years in locations around the country. The competitive events include golf, basketball, swimming, bowling, racquetball, table tennis, cycling, tennis and much more! The games also have opening and closing ceremonies and a 5k Race that everyone is invited to participate in. …Continue reading →

What I’m doing on my summer vacation

On July 30, an expected 7,500 visitors from across the country will arrive in Madison to participate in the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games. The games are an Olympic-style event for athletes who have received a life-saving organ transplant of any type (kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas and bone marrow).

Mason is participating in the U.S. Transplant Games for the very fist time, and he is every excited! He will be competing in a number of events, including the softball throw, long jump and road race. Mason’s training for the games includes normal kid stuff – playing t-ball, riding his bike and running around – nonstop. He is a natural at anything athletic and …Continue reading →

Advocating for our Children

I can’t put into words the honor Mira Raetherthat we feel to be representing Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin at the National Association of Children’s Hospital’s Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. For the last five years, insurance coverage and health care have played a critical role in our lives and far too many families face the same obstacles.

In 2005, we became proud parents of triplets. At 30 weeks gestation, I gave birth to two boys and one girl. Shortly after birth, our daughter Mira was diagnosed with renal acidosis. In simple terms, her kidneys weren’t doing their job. Mira was on dialysis nightly for two and half years before she received a kidney transplant from our neighbor, who was a match. …Continue reading →

Going for gold close to home

The 2010 Winter Olympics are taking place close to home this year in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. While enjoying the Olympics, my thoughts will naturally turn to the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games. The games take place July 30 through Aug. 4 in Madison, Wis.

The U.S. Transplant Games are Olympic-style events for transplant recipients to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in 13 sporting events. Opening and closing ceremonies along with other celebrations make the U.S. Transplant Games an extremely amazing experience as you realize the health challenges participants have overcome to be there.

Recipients of hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys, pancreases, intestines and bone marrow have an opportunity meet other recipients and their families, celebrate life through athletic competitions and promote the success of donation and transplantation.

…Continue reading →