Garden of Hope
Promoting organ donation
The purpose of the Garden of Hope is to give organ and tissue donors, whether living or deceased, gratitude for their selfless gift and to encourage others to consider becoming a donor.
Blooming plants surround a weathered stone bench while the Donate Life flag flies overhead. Over time, pavers engraved with a donor’s or recipient’s name will be added to the path in the center of the garden. The peaceful area offers visitors a place to rest, reflect, and recognize each donor listed.
The centerpiece of the garden is a poem engraved in granite, written by former Wadena resident and heart transplant recipient Jim Swenson. He penned the poem about six months after receiving his transplant on Sept. 18, 2004.
A committee of Astera employees, a heart transplant recipient, two families of organ donors, and other interested community members originally proposed the idea of the garden, aided by the nonprofit organization LifeSource, which aims to save lives with organ and tissue donation in the Upper Midwest. Astera unveiled the Garden of Hope, built by Youngbauer Landscaping, on July 18, 2017.
Become a donor
More than 117,000 people nationwide are currently waiting for organ/tissue transplants, and that number rises every day. In fact, the numbers on the waiting list are much higher than the number of donors and transplants available. One person can donate up to eight lifesaving organs – heart, two kidneys, liver, pancreas, two lungs and intestines – as well as other valuable tissue. Those transplants might be the difference between life and death, which is why all organ and tissue donors, whether living or deceased, deserve gratitude. LifeSource has a frequently asked questions page here.
Signing up to be an organ/tissue donor is relatively simple, and yet it has the potential to save lives. Here’s how it works:
- Make the commitment to be a donor.
- Visit donatelife.net/register or register in person at your local DMV. If you are a Minnesota resident, you can also register online when purchasing a hunting or fishing license through the DNR.
- Tell your family of your decision so they can support your wishes.