Tag Archive for: saving lives

DAISY certificates

Getting Their Flowers: MTN Staff Earn a DAISY Team Award

The excitement in “We won a DAISY with WMC!!!!” says a lot.

The story behind the sentiment says even more.

In December 2023, a car accident sent Dwayne ‘D Dub’ Moenning to the emergency department at Wesley Healthcare in Wichita, Kansas. He was cared for by a Surgical Intensive Care Unit for about a week, but despite efforts to save him, he passed away. Moenning’s family chose to donate their son’s organs. And they wanted his classmates to attend his honor walk. The school is more than an hour’s drive to the hospital.

MTN’s Impact
Midwest Transplant Network staff Midge Dempsey, Family Services Coordinator II, and Nikki Dixon, Hospital Services Coordinator II, work in the Wichita satellite office. They served on the team that supported the Moenning family, and both made an impact.

Dempsey describes her job as supporting families “during one of the worst days of their lives by giving them hope and to allow them to experience joy amidst their pain.”

Dempsey explained that when the time came to approach the Moenning family about donation, they struggled with the decision, but after conversation and explaining the organ donation process, they “eventually verbalized how important it was for D Dub to save lives.” Soon, Dempsey was helping the family plan an honor walk and coordinating efforts to bring classmates and community members from their small town to the hospital.

“They were finding comfort in donation and how D Dub would be honored.”

Earning The DAISY Team Award
The DAISY Team Award is designed to honor collaboration by two or more people, led by a nurse, who identify and meet patient and patient family needs by going above and beyond the traditional role of nursing.

Wesley Healthcare presented The DAISY Team Award to a multi-disciplinary SICU team that included partners and others who had an instrumental role in the Moenning’s story. The ceremony was held May 8, in the heart of National Nurses Week.

“Earning a DAISY Team Award brings validation to my life and reminds me that I am following the path that has been paved for me. This award brings me joy because I know that I was able to provide someone with something they needed at a given time,” said Dempsey.

As a Hospital Services Coordinator, Dixon is responsible for “education, onboarding, policy development and problem-solving. Most importantly, I teach hospital staff when to refer patients to MTN and help facilitate the relationship between the hospital and Midwest Transplant Network.”

Dixon’s thoughts about the honor are similar. “Earning The DAISY Team Award as part of a hospital/MTN team is a blessing. We work very closely with the hospital team and winning an award together is a testament to that partnership.”

There’s another layer to the award for Dixon. “I spent my bedside nursing career in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Wesley, so this hospital is dear to my heart. I am very proud to serve Wesley as their MTN Hospital Services Coordinator. Organ donation saved my late father’s life twice, so I am honored to be part of this mission.”

About The DAISY Award
The DAISY Award was established by the family of J. Patrick Barnes in honor of the care he received after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at the age of 33, in 1999. While he was hospitalized, his family “experienced the best of nursing.”

After Barnes died, his wife created the acronym DAISY – Diseases Attacking the Immune System – and the family created a not-for-profit organization, and The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses began at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at the University of Washington Medical Center. The DAISY Award is described as “the first program of its kind to give patients, families, and co-workers a way to express their gratitude to nurses for what they became nurses to do – provide compassionate care to patients and their families.”

The DAISY Award has become a strategic tool for nurse recruitment, retention and resilience that has been adopted by healthcare organizations and schools of nursing in the U.S. and around the world.  Learn more about the program from The DAISY Foundation.



Two ladies holding certificates in front of a star-themed background.

Midge Dempsey and Nikki Dixon, Midwest Transplant Network, pose with The DAISY Team Award certificates they received at a ceremony at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas.

Four ladies posing for a picture in front of a star-themed background.

Midge Dempsey, Jennifer Scheuber, Amy Keith, Wesley Medical Center, and Nikki Dixon are all smiles at The DAISY Awards celebration.

A group of people holding certificates.

Wesley Healthcare recognized its Surgical Intensive Care Unit with The DAISY Team Award at a ceremony during National Nurses Week.


A pressed flower butterly.

Midwest Transplant Network Presents Annual Awards for Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation Excellence

Midwest Transplant Network staff members recognize their partners in saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation by presenting the annual Excellence in Donation Awards to hospitals, individuals and organizations in our community.

Based on 2023 donation outcomes, Midwest Transplant Network presents the Excellence in Organ and Tissue Donation Awards to hospitals that had a higher-than-average number of families granting authorization for donation. The organization also gives these awards to exceptional partners in hospitals; licensing, treasury and Department of Revenue offices; medical examiner officers; funeral homes and beyond. These individuals made an extraordinary contribution to Midwest Transplant Network’s lifesaving mission.


Butterflies and Organ Donation

The butterfly holds deep symbolism in organ, eye and tissue donation. The butterfly is associated with hope, renewal and transformation; just as a caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis to become a butterfly, organ donation represents a transformative process for donor families and transplant recipients – the gift of life that brings hope to those in need.

Award honorees received a beautiful, pressed flower butterfly print by artist Ashley Foster. She believes that flowers symbolize joy, love and gratitude.


2024 Excellence in Donation Honorees

Midwest Transplant Network collaborates with 250 hospitals and recognized the following:

Organ and tissue excellence: Overland Park Regional Medical Center, Freeman Health System, Hays Medical Center, Lee’s Summit Medical Center, Saint Luke’s East Hospital, Capital Region Medical Center, Hutchinson Regional Medical Center.

Organ excellence: AdventHealth South Overland Park, Mercy Hospital Joplin, Centerpoint Medical Center, Stormont Vail Health Care, The University of Kansas Health System, Olathe Medical Center, Liberty Hospital, Saint Luke’s North Hospital.

Tissue excellence: Mosaic Life Care, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, Salina Regional Health Center, The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus, Kansas Medical Center, Nevada Regional Medical Center.


In addition to hospitals, Midwest Transplant Network collaborates with countless individuals and teams and recognized the following:

Individual and group honorees: Olivia Zhang, CST, University of Missouri Health Care; Amy Keith, BSN, Wesley Medical Center; Crystal Vail, RN, BSN, Freeman; Ciara Wright, Ph.D, The University of Kansas Health System; Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office; Deborah Washam, RN, MS, Greater Kansas City Black Nurses Association; Anthony Harrington, MD, Blue Sky Neurology, Research Medical Center; Naftali Presser, MD, Research Medical Center; Bhargava Mullapudi, MD, Children’s Mercy Kansas City; Andrew Widman, volunteer Ambassador.


About Midwest Transplant Network

Midwest Transplant Network has been connecting lives through organ donation since 1973. As the federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) for Kansas and the western two-thirds of Missouri, Midwest Transplant Network provides services including organ procurement; surgical tissue and eye recovery; laboratory testing; and 24-hour rapid response for referrals from hospital partners. Midwest Transplant Network ranks in the top 10% in the country among OPOs, which reflects the organization’s quality, professionalism and excellence in partnerships throughout the region. For more information, visit mwtn.org.



A butterfly made of pressed flowers in a photo frame.

A pressed flower butterfly print given to award honorees at MTN’s Excellence in Donation ceremony.

Guests seated at a table at an awards celebration.

Guests at MTN’s annual Excellence in Donation Awards ceremony smile for a photo.

A man at a podium holding a microphone.

Andrew Widman, MTN Ambassador, speaking at the podium at MTN’s Excellence in Donation Awards ceremony.

Bubble ceremony

Excellence in Donation Awards ceremony guests participating in a bubble remembrance.

MTN logo

Midwest Transplant Network surpasses expectations to save and enhance lives in 2023

One organ donor can save eight lives; a tissue donor can enhance 100 lives.

In 2023, Midwest Transplant Network set a new level of achievement for the number of organs recovered for transplantation, organ donors, eye and tissue donors, and laboratory tests performed as part of organ, eye and tissue donation.

MTN, a not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO), achieved 988 lifesaving organs for transplantation. The gifts came from 363 donor heroes. MTN also recovered gifts of eye and tissue from 1,399 donors.

“What we achieved at Midwest Transplant Network in 2023 reflects the commitment of the staff who do the work every day to support organ donation and transplantation. The work is hard, and happens in countless ways, but we are all dedicated to the mission of enhancing and saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation” said Jan Finn, RN, MSN, President & CEO, Midwest Transplant Network.

MTN’s award-winning histocompatibility lab performed 36,224 tests assessing blood work for potential matches for organ, tissue and bone marrow transplantation, as well as post-transplant monitoring.

“MTN’s professional laboratory staff performs thousands of tests in support of organ transplants for patients in our community, as well as patients across the country. Each year, the laboratory’s service grows as we continue to provide exceptional quality and expert consultation services 24/7 to transplant centers,” said Christina Bishop, MT(ASCP), Ph.D., F(ACHI), Chief of Laboratory Services.


An Upward Trend

MTN’s performance metric increases reflect a national upward trend for the organ transplant system.

The United Network for Organ Sharing reported that across the country, clinical workers performed more than 46,000 lifesaving transplants in 2023.

Although organ transplants are increasing nationally and locally, the waiting list grows. More than 100,000 people around the country need a lifesaving organ transplant — with approximately 460 of those people living in Kansas and 2,000 in Missouri.

2023: A Significant Year for Saving Lives
Through MTN, the generosity of donor heroes and their families touched the lives of people in need:

  • 363 donor heroes shared the gift of life, resulting in 988* lifesaving organ transplants.
    (*Excluding organs donated for research)
  • 1,399 cornea and tissue donor heroes saved and enhanced lives.
  • MTN’s lab performed 36,224 transplant-supporting tests ranging from blood counts, urinalysis, basic chemistry panels and more.
  • In its first full year of service, MTN’s Donor Recovery and Surgical Unit (DCU) cared for 114 donor hero patients resulting in 364 lifesaving transplants.

“The DCU allows us to continue specialized care for donor hero patients while maximizing their gifts of donation. The DCU also enables us to support our hospital partners by freeing up resources such as intensive care unit beds, operating rooms and medical staff needed to care for donor patients,” said Lori Markham, RN, MSN, CCRN, Vice President & Chief Clinical Officer.

At a Glance

Incorporated in 1973, Midwest Transplant Network facilitates organ, eye and tissue donation in partnership with hospitals and other professional partners to give hope and share life. MTN’s service area is the state of Kansas and western two-thirds of Missouri, with its central office located in Westwood, Kansas, and satellite offices in Wichita, Kansas, and Columbia and Joplin, Missouri. MTN commemorated 50 years of service in 2023.


MTN Community Spotlight: Imagine the impact of a generous donation

A middle school multipurpose room with a performance stage. Rows of black stackable chairs with slips of purple paper to mark seat numbers for the ticketed show. Long tables filled with brightly wrapped candy, sweet treats and the smell of spun sugar from a cotton candy machine complement the anticipation.

It’s opening night.

The lights dim.

The curtain rises.

The show begins.

“Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination. Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination.” ~ Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory


Students and families at Harmony Middle School in the Blue Valley School District raised $2,856 from their spring musical, “Willy Wonka,” and donated the ticket sales to Midwest Transplant Network in honor of a donor hero family.

Annually, the student cast gets to nominate a charity. Students give a quick speech about an organization that’s had an impact on them, and the cast votes to choose “the most deserving.” David Davis, theater director at Harmony Middle School, said this is the 15th year of the benefit performance.

Five people standing center stage in front of a curtain. Fourth person from the left is holding a microphone and reading from a sheet of paper.

The Dirks family and Midwest Transplant Network staff are center stage during intermission at Harmony Middle School in the Blue Valley School District.

This year, students Belle and Beau Dirks successfully advocated for MTN with their personal story. Their father, Josh Dirks, passed away in November 2021 and became an organ donor hero by way of his heart.

During intermission, the Dirks family took center stage – Belle and Beau, mom Tiffany, and sister Ella. Belle shared their organ donation journey from written remarks while Beau held a large, framed photo of their dad. Their grandparents, younger sister and family friends were in the audience, beaming with pride and emotion.

“…The day he went to heaven was the hardest day of my life. We were in his hospital room when they told us that he wasn’t coming home. There were so many people in the room, but I remember one lady, Ms. Gretchen, from Midwest Transplant Network. She hugged all of us and told us that it was going to be ok.

“…She told us what it means to be a donor, how important his decision was, and how he would be able to help someone else continue to live. Then, she laid a blanket on him that had the word HERO printed on it.”

Belle shared more of their story, then closed with a clear call to action:

“I know it is a difficult decision to become an organ donor, but I encourage you to sign up. Their motto is GIVE HOPE, SHARE LIFE — and that is what you do when you sign up to be an organ donor.

“You never know, you just might become a HERO in someone else’s story – Just like my daddy did!!”

The audience applauded.

The lights dimmed.

Five people are center stage during intermission at a school musical, posing for a photo.

The Dirks family and MTN staff after presenting a contribution to Midwest Transplant Network. From left to right: Tiffany Dirks, mom; Nichole Asquith, MTN; Beau holds a photo of Josh Dirks, father and donor hero; Belle and Ella Dirks.

And the show went on.

Midwest Transplant Network is appreciative to the students, families, teachers and staff of Harmony Middle School and their generous contribution to support organ, eye and tissue donation, and MTN is humbled to be a part of the Dirks family organ donation journey.

Please learn more about what it means to become a registered organ donor at mwtn.org.

All Heart: One Recipient’s Journey Back to Health

Each selfless gift given by an organ, eye and/or tissue donor has a true ripple effect: on patients in need of transplant, on the donor’s family, on those who provide care for the donor, on those who care for the recipient and far beyond.

In honor of American Heart Month, we asked heart recipient and volunteer Ambassador Brian Pitts to share his transplant journey. Brian’s powerful and inspiring story is one of so many that Midwest Transplant Network and our partners are fortunate to know.

Watch now!

MTN Celebrates 50 Years of Saving and Enhancing Lives


At the start of each year, Midwest Transplant Network reflects on the work we did to save lives with dignity and compassion in the previous 12 months, ensuring a focus on better serving donor heroes, their families and those on the waitlist. Our look back at 2022 is particularly significant as we celebrate our organization’s 50th anniversary of saving and enhancing lives.

We share the graphic below in honor of our 2022 donor heroes and the lives affected by their generous gifts.

Graphically designed image to highlight MTN's 2022 success using data. The background is purple with descriptions written in white and numbers shown in green.For a look even further back, MTN has added a historical timeline to our website that highlights key milestones in our 50 years of saving and enhancing lives. From our incorporation as Midwest Organ Bank in 1973 through the medical advances of the 1980s to improved technology in the 2000s and on through today — Midwest Transplant Network celebrates our past while looking forward to the innovations and improvements awaiting us in the future.

We invite you all to help us celebrate our 50th year by continuing to advocate for the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. Encourage your family and friends to consider joining the organ, eye and tissue donor registry. And remind them to speak with their loved ones about their decision to be a donor. Engage with us on social media and attend our events, spreading the crucial message of giving hope and sharing life.

Our community is stronger because of collaboration with partners in advancing our lifesaving and life-enhancing mission. We thank you all for supporting us throughout the years!





Administrative Assistant Spotlight

Photo collage image of the eight women who work to support MTN as Administrative Assistants.


As we continue highlighting departments throughout Midwest Transplant Network, we hear now from our talented Administrative Assistant team that is behind so much of the organization’s success.

MTN Administrative Assistant staff members:

  • Melissa Anderson, Administrative Assistant (IT, Community Education, Donor Family Aftercare)
  • Kathy Brown, Administrative Assistant (Wichita and Columbia Regional Offices)
  • Rikki Burke, Administrative Assistant (Organ Procurement, Tissue Services, Donation Services, Family Services)
  • Susan Hubbard, Executive Assistant to CEO
  • Brande’ Johnson, Administrative Assistant to Senior Directors
  • Kim Martin, Customer Relations and Communications Coordinator
  • Terra Price, Administrative Assistant (Hospital Services, Laboratory Services, Quality, Education)
  • Heather Sics, Administrative Assistant to Executive Management


Briefly describe what Administrative Assistants do.

MTN Administrative Assistants are responsible for the daily administrative support of 10 unique departments; the executive and senior leadership teams; MTN regional offices; and customer relations for all incoming calls, visitors, patients, vendors and guests for the organization. Our team is involved in all aspects of MTN’s operations to support our mission of saving and enhancing lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. Our admins schedule and support all organizational meetings; maintain calendar awareness and provide meeting and specific project support to leadership; coordinate symposiums, conferences and events; plan travel and deliver monthly expense reporting, in addition to numerous additional activities.Admins are often the first point of contact for incoming requests to the organization. The team takes pride in working and engaging with our customers — whether they be donor family members, patients, partners, vendors or visitors of MTN.

What internal departments and roles do Administrative Assistants work with?

Our team supports 10 departments, three offices, 10 senior leaders and initiatives throughout the organization.Additionally, Administrative Assistant staff members support several MTN governing bodies as well as Strategic Planning and specialty committees, including:

  • MTN Governing and Advisory boards
  • MTN Governance, Executive, Finance and Compensation committees
  • Five Strategic Planning committees and additional subcommittees
  • Two organizational committees

How do you support your teammates when you all support such different teams and types of work?

“For me, it’s a matter of jumping in where I can. If the help is needed, be there, or ask in the midst of the work.  There’s always something that can be done.”
Brande’ Johnson

“I support my teammates in all their different roles by making sure they each have what they need to get their jobs done, and I love finding ways I can make their jobs easier and more efficient.”
Kathy Brown


Tell us about some of the events your department plans and creates for MTN.

“I support our Donor Family Aftercare and Community Engagement & Public Relations departments, which host the majority of MTN’s events. One of my favorite MTN events is our annual Donate Life Legacy Walk. My first Legacy Walk was our second year, and seeing this event grow from 250 to over 1,000 attendees has been amazing. I love that this is the one event where all with connections to donation come to honor a loved one, share a story, celebrate with one another and spread the message of organ, eye and tissue donation.” — Melissa Anderson

The Administrative Assistant team participates in the planning and execution of nearly all MTN events — which is a significant undertaking, with more than 50 events held annually. Administrative staff members work in partnership with executive leadership and various departments to produce both internal and external events that reach a variety of audiences. These audiences include members of our communities who champion organ donation; colleagues, hospital partners and clinicians who contribute to the fields of organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation; family members and supporters of our organ, eye and tissue donor heroes; MTN staff members and volunteers; and MTN governing bodies, to name a few.


What is the one thing you’d want to tell someone who knows nothing about your work?

Every day is completely different. We are the team that seamlessly makes sure everything is right where you need it to be, when you need it. It’s the classic image of the iceberg: the work you see above water and the massive amount that is contained below. The more flawless an event comes across to the audience, the more work that was put in behind the scenes to create that environment.


What inspires you or gives you a sense of fulfillment about your work in support of MTN’s mission?

“The opportunity to be a small part of fulfilling the organization’s mission by being of service to others.”
Brande’ Johnson

“It gives me much pride to know that my efforts are going into saving lives rather increasing profit.”
Susan Hubbard

“I am inspired when I hear successful donor stories and stories of collaboration between MTN and the hospital staff.”
Kathy Brown


Why should people say “yes” to organ, eye and tissue donation?

A YES to donation is one of the most selfless and generous things a person can do. We all have an opportunity to create a ripple effect and touch the lives of so many. By saying “yes,” you provide hope to the thousands of people who are awaiting a transplant.

Anything else you’d like to add?

The Administrative Assistant team is growing as MTN continues to grow. We are currently looking for a passionate and experienced Administrative Assistant to support our Sr. Directors of Strategy and Information Technology, and our Chief of Laboratory Services. If you are interested in joining an exceptional team at a critically important, mission-based organization, we would love to speak with you! View the full job description and apply today.


Community Partner Feature – St. James United Methodist Church

When communities of faith partner with us to promote the gift of life offered through organ, eye and tissue donation, a beautiful message emerges. As our annual observance of National Donor Sabbath concludes, hear from St. James United Methodist Church’s Dr. Yvette Richards, D.Min., on her work within her community and why she is so passionate about partnering with Midwest Transplant Network.

Community Partner Feature – Hoefer Welker

When Midwest Transplant Network began planning for the creation of its Donor Care and Surgical Recovery Unit, Hoefer Welker jumped at the chance to design a facility that would honor MTN’s mission to save and enhance lives with dignity and compassion. In this video blog feature, listen to Hoefer Welker’s Diamond Bronson, Associate Vice President and Project Manager, and Patrick McCurdy, Partner and Healthcare Practice Leader, discuss their work and what inspired them in partnering with MTN.

Photo image of Ryan Stoway in a hoodie with a waterfall and wooded scenery in the background.

Donor Hero Said “Yes” to Joining the Registry at the DMV

Photo image of Ryan Stoway in a hoodie with a waterfall and wooded scenery in the background.

Ryan Stoway

In honor of National DMV Appreciation Month, we are honored to share this submitted story about donor hero Ryan Stoway, who believed so much in organ, eye and tissue donation that he enthusiastically said “yes” to joining the registry when he received his permit to drive. Our thanks to Ryan’s mother, Alexis Stoway, for sharing this beautiful story:

“Ryan was a 14-year-old boy with dreams of joining the military or following in his dad’s footsteps as an electrician. He was a born protector, helper and caregiver. He saw what most people didn’t and never hesitated to lend a hand to those who needed him. He had tremendous love for his family, and nothing was more important to him than being with his family and his friends, whom he also thought of as family. He showed such pride to be a part of each and every one of their lives.

He loved being outdoors. Fishing was a passion he shared with his Poppa, uncle and friends. He LOVED playing football! He even liked practicing and off-season training. He enjoyed learning, getting better and stronger each day. Ryan was a 6-foot, 280-pound teddy bear when he wasn’t on the football field. It was often he needed Mom time (yep — he still needed a cuddle). He pulled out the M&M’S® and put on a favorite movie of mine, ‘Top Gun’ or ‘Secretariat,’ and asked me to watch with him.

Ryan always believed in organ donation. He personally saw how organ donation saves and changes lives. When he was 5, his sister received a kidney transplant (she was 3). When he got his permit to drive, he asked the lady taking his picture to redo his permit because it didn’t say he was a donor, and he wanted it on there. When he showed his dad and me, it seemed like he was prouder to be an organ donor than he was that he had passed his test. We were so proud he made that decision all on his own.

When he was finishing his freshman year of high school, he asked me why people had to wait so long for transplants since so many people died every day. I told him not everyone was a donor. He got upset and told me that for his senior project, he was going to tell as many people as possible how organ and tissue donation changes people’s lives. In fact, his exact words were that it ‘changes families’ lives’ and ‘allows people to live a life without jerks making fun of them for being different.’ I sat stunned and cried at my teenage son’s understanding of the difference a selfless choice can make.

It was a little over a month after that conversation that he was in a tragic accident and passed away. They were unable to restart his heart, so his tissues and eyes were donated. He was able to fulfill his wish to be a donor. His sister will take every step with him for the rest of her life, as she was a recipient of one of his tendons, repairing a birth defect in her knee.

We all know Ryan was truly honored to become a donor hero to as many people as he could. I believe he dances in heaven every single time someone gets a part of him, giving them a better quality of life!”