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Local hospitals achieve recognition for organ donation efforts

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CHIPPEWA VALLEY (WQOW) - HSHS Saint Joseph's Hospital in Chippewa Falls and HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire have been awarded platinum recognition from the Health and Resources and Service Administration for an ongoing effort toward promoting organ donation.

To highlight the benefits of an organ transplant, one Wisconsin woman shared her story.

Erica Singley was five years old when her pediatrician noted something seemed out of the ordinary in her eye.

After several visits to ophthalmologists, it was discovered that an early childhood case of chickenpox had lingered in her right eye, scratching her cornea and leaving a prognosis of vision loss.

Her condition worsened with age, and at age 10 it was determined she'd need the surgery sooner rather than later.

Six months after being placed on a transplant list, she was in the operating room.

"I think a lot of people need to know that, you know, when you pass you don't need everything to go to heaven," Singley said. "For my donor, he gives me a purpose to carry on his legacy, his spirit, and his vision through my eyes. And I'm able to celebrate his life and the gift of sight that he's given me."

Michelle Willcutt is a registered nurse at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and sits on the organ donation committee. She stressed the value of registering as an organ donor; saying it not only helps the recipient but the donor's family as well.

"When they make that donation, and then years later they look back, they're like, 'not only did I give life to somebody by making that decision, but my person got to live on.' And it's a wonderful thing for them," Willcutt said.

Willcutt added the number of donated organs that are eligible for transplant is very few, so the more people that register as donors, the greater the pool of eligible organs.

If you're interested in registering to become an organ donor, visit

McKenna Alexander

McKenna Alexander is the weekend anchor and a multimedia journalist for News 18. She started in June 2019. She was born in San Francisco, but spent the majority of her life growing up in Dallas.

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