Featured Donor – Jamie Wilson
Jamie Wilson was a beautiful, warm and compassionate 21 year old. Growing up on a Wisconsin farm, she loved animals, hunting and bluegrass music. Jamie constantly battled feelings of deep sadness; Jamie lost her battle against depression on August 14, 2009. Although overwhelmed with shock over their loss, the family decided to donate Jamie’s tissue and eyes. Jamie’s mom Kelly said “donation made us feel we could keep her alive and someone else could benefit. It was comforting to know that it was an option.” In addition to donation, Jamie’s family has taken up the cause of suicide prevention and awareness. In memory of Jamie’s love for bluegrass music, friends and family put on a fundraising event that features bluegrass bands and other activities, including donation booths with information about the Wisconsin Donor Registry.
Money raised will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The Hauk Family Story
Evan Hauk played youth football, was an avid outdoorsman and especially enjoyed fishing, hunting, skiing and anything on the water. Evan skied the mountains, fished the rivers and lived life to the fullest for his 13 years. Evan was a wonderful big brother, had a heart of gold and beautiful sky-blue eyes.
Every parent’s worst nightmare came true – Evan was using a 110 volt electric prod to gather earthworms for a fishing trip with his father, and he was accidentally electrocuted. His sister found him lying on the ground, not breathing. Emergency medical personnel responded and transferred him to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead. A nurse at the hospital asked his parents if they were interested in donating Evan’s corneas, their first thought was that, if from their tragedy, some good could come for someone else, it would be so like Evan’s nature and they chose to donate his corneas to the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin. Evan’s precious gift provided two recipients with a gift that will change their lives forever – fulfilling the Hauk family’s wish that Evan will never be forgotten.
For more information about how you can give the gift of sight, click here.
Sue Hoff Family Story
“My Mom, Sue Hoff, was many things to many people…a teacher, a counselor, a caretaker, a cheerleader, a prayer warrior; but most of all, a best friend. Her extraordinary humility and gentle soul were demonstrated, not with words, but by her actions. She showed an unconditional heartwarming love to all, including two complete strangers; as she passed on a gift that changed their lives forever, her corneas. On September 28, 2015, Mom made her journey home into the kingdom of God. Not a day goes by that she isn’t in the thoughts of many. I am grateful one of the last things I was able to tell her was I loved her and to hear back she loved me. I know this love is as beautiful, as powerful, and as strong, today, as it was all the years of our time together. It is a love that is all accepting, without conditions or limitations or prejudices, because that was the very essence of her character. I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. You may just have to listen differently. You may just have to talk differently. The truth is that the connection is never broken. It’s quite impossible to break the most powerful connection in the universe, love. Those we love don’t go away; they walk beside us. Unseen, unheard, but always near; still loved, still missed. Their love leaves a permanent imprint in our memories and on our hearts. I have learned, from my mom, that the greatest legacy you can leave in life—is love, and my mom’s legacy is immeasurable.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
The Persinger Family Story
Chris Persinger was a loving, always laughing 17 year old who wanted to meet and talk to everyone he saw. He played tennis, taught himself guitar, and enjoyed being out on the water, whether it was wakeboarding, skiing, or tubing.
On December 2nd, 2007, Chris was on his way home from the Wisconsin Dells where he spent a weekend with his best friends. Not long after leaving, he and his close two friends, Christian Weyer and Derek Hazenfield, hit a patch of black ice and all died instantly on impact. When Chris turned 16, he made the decision to become a donor, so his parents, Shelley and Todd Persinger, followed through with his wishes and he became a tissue and eye donor.
Dillon Mueller Family Story
Dillon was only 16 years old when he made the decision to become an organ donor. “We didn’t know he registered,” said his mother, Angel. Dillon provided the Gift of Sight to two recipients, along with being a tissue donor.
Angel stated, “…he was a stunt man in the making. He started riding a four wheeler at the ripe old age of three. Dillon raced dirt bikes from the time he was only six years old in motor-cross and “hare scrambles”. He was a dare devil with an awesome personality.”
Dillon was the youngest of three boys, raised on a sesquicentennial farm. He would have been the seventh generation working on the dairy farm. Dillon was an Eagle Scout and an officer of the FFA. Dillon was a beloved member of his community in Mischicot and as a tribute to him, his bikes, trophies and paintings were displayed at the high school where his wake was held with over 1,054 people in attendance.
The Mueller Family express a very special thank you to the entire staff of the Aurora Bay Care Medical Center for the love and special care extended to Dillon and his family before his death from an allergic reaction to a bee sting. The family advocates for organ, tissue and eye donation.
Emily Lyons Family Story
In February 2015, Emily Lyons was involved in a snow mobile accident. Emily passed away during her Freshman year at UW-Lacrosse; she was on a path to become an optometrist. After the accident, Emily’s family was approached by a donor liaison regarding organ donation. They were shocked to find out that not only was Emily registered to be an organ, tissue, and eye donor on her driver’s license, but she even went so far as to register online as well.
Emily was able to provide the gift of sight, by restoring vision for two residents in need of a corneal transplants right here in Wisconsin. Emily also donated her tissue and organs which saved the lives of six people and improved the quality of life for at least 50 others.
Now a mother on a mission, Dawn Lyons-Wood is doing her part to promote organ, tissue, and eye donation. Dawn has joined the local Beaver Dam Lions club and feels strongly about the power of donation “In a time of sadness, all we can do is focus on the positive. To me, Emily’s donation is our only positive. People who chose to donate do it out of kindness and love. Since Emily’s accident, my life has taken a completely different path. Due to this path, I have met some of the most amazing, loving, kind, and compassionate families.”
You can continue support Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin and your local community by registering to become an eye, organ and tissue donor here.