Families Connect at Picnic to Honor Gifts of Life

Donations to ThedaCare Family of Foundations Make Event Possible

In the summer when families are gathering for reunion picnics around the state, a particularly special family gathering takes place in Neenah. While the attendees may not all be related, they each have in common the often difficult but ultimately life-giving gift of organ donation.

“In talking with other families, it helps the grieving process to know they’re not alone,” said Sue Broeren, ICU nurse and coordinator of the organ, eye and tissue donation program at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah. “It’s helpful for families to gather and provide coping tips for each other.”

Generous gifts to ThedaCare Foundation-Neenah ensure these grieving families have the chance to gather and celebrate the lives of their loved ones at the picnic. Through generous financial support, the Foundation provides food and a memorial gift of potted flowers for each family, Broeren said. The picnic has been held twice, and organizers would like to offer it every other year.

The community’s generosity to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations helps make gatherings like this possible. The picnic, held at Whiting Boathouse near Neenah’s Doty Park, gives these families, most of whom have lost someone to trauma or acute conditions such as stroke, the chance to support each other and even to find ways to encourage other families to offer the life-saving gift of organ donation.

“A lot of these families go on to do a lot of organ donation promotion themselves, or they participate in the Gift of Life Walk/Run or other events,” Broeren said. Raising awareness about organ donation is critical, with more than 116,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a life-saving organ donation, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.

On Feb. 14, many people will celebrate Valentine’s Day with gifts of candy and flowers for their loved ones. It’s also a perfect date to make a gift to ThedaCare Family of Foundations in honor of National Organ Donor Day, celebrated on the same special day to raise awareness of one of the most valuable gifts a person can give to another: The gift of life.

To learn more about the ThedaCare Family of Foundations and the impact of donor support, or make a donation, please visit www.thedacare.org/Foundations or email Foundations@thedacare.org. 

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose, as well as 31 clinics in nine counties and the ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.  For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.