Tommy Thompson: We still need more organ donors.

Wisconsin State-Journal | Tommy Thompson

Tommy Thompson

The State Journal’s three-part series “Living on | Improving the odds of organ transplants” last week was personally poignant and timely. Kudos to all who contributed, many of whom I know and respect.

Research and development to enhance the chances for successful organ transplantation is critical. Encouraging people to become donors is also critically important.

UW transplant surgeons were great tutors to me when I was Wisconsin’s governor. At their urging, I became an advocate for organ donation.

We created a governor’s gold medal for organ donor families to recognize and thank them. We set up a driver’s education curriculum informing new drivers how to indicate their wishes to become donors. We also collaborated with many state and local organizations.

The “Living on” series was personally timely because we just lost a family friend, Annette Stebbins, a talented, bubbly woman who was especially close to my wife, Sue Ann, and a supporter of the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation.

Annette was a transplant survivor and thriver. In 1992, she received a new liver and was afforded another 23 post-transplant years to contribute to her community. Continue reading.