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Garden of Hope

Nestled in the lawn of the Wesley Building with the Donate Life flag flying high, Astera Health’s Garden of Hope stands as a relaxing haven for patients and people in the community. It serves as a tribute to those who have given the gift of life while highlighting the importance of being an eye, organ, or tissue donor.

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.


Toll-Free: 800-631-1811

Phone: 218-631-3510


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:

  1. Make the commitment to be a donor.
  2. Visit 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.
  3. Tell your family of your decision so they can support your wishes.

Share in the legacy

If your family has been touched by organ donation, or if you know someone who has, the Garden of Hope gives you an opportunity to create a memorial by purchasing a paver or by making a donation toward the garden’s preservation. Pavers will be added on an ongoing basis and can be ordered at any time. Brochures and paver order forms are available at AH entrances or can be obtained at 218-631-7509. A plaque in the garden will recognize those who have made a financial donation.

Tuesday, March 26

All clinics, rehab, and ReadyCare will open at 10 am