Source: Gaylord Herald Times
GAYLORD — Holly Werlein’s enthusiastic message never sleeps, but now is as good a time as ever for it.
April is National Donate Life month and Werlein, who received a liver transplant nearly four years ago, has been making her rounds across Northern Michigan spreading awareness.She’s been to classrooms, service organizations, radio stations and newspapers.
Her message is always the same: hope.“I am so truly blessed,” Werlein, 25, said. “I get so excited talking about it. I have a life to live to show the success of transplantation. It’s incredible speaking to people — knowing that something could happen to one of them and know I could affect their life. Insipiring somebody to give the gift of life is something that makes me happy and makes me smile the rest of the day.”Werlein, who lives in Traverse City but grew up in Gaylord, tirelessly promotes organ donation awareness and spends countless volunteer hours setting up support systems for those who have gone through similar ordeals.
And, now, she’s training to compete again in the United States Transplant Games in Madison, Wisc. this July. Werlein, a standout athlete at Gaylord High, will compete in swimming, sprinting and team volleyball. She has previously competed in the U.S. Games and at last year’s World Transplant Games in Australia.“I’m pumped,” she said. “I have a lot of family who live in Madison, plus some members of our local support group. It’s like a reunion to me. I can’t wait to go and meet some of the friends I’ve made over the past couple years.”Werlein said she’s hosting a bake sale to raise funds for her trip. The bake sale will take place at Mu-La-La Consignment May 21-22.
Werlein also recently showed off her artistic side when she was named a semifinalist in the National Kidney Foundation’s art contest. Her photo, of a design she and her sisters created for T-shirts along with her U.S. Transplant Games medal, was selected as a semifinalist for the competition.“I was stoked — I didn’t ever expect it,” she said.Her days are busy, but she goes about her business always with a smile. She said that Michigan has one of the lowest percentages for people signed to the organ donation registry and urges people to go to www.giftoflifemichigan.org to sign up.