Making A Difference

Organ Donation Becomes a Family Affair Propelled By Sweet, Stuffed Mascots

A Chicago family is spreading the word about organ donation, one "stuffie" at a time.

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When Jennifer Einerson isn’t caring for one of her five children, chances are you’ll find her at the sewing machine. For the past couple years, she has been designing and creating adorable little stuffed animals. 

"When the pandemic hit last year, and just all the unrest, I thought we have to get some kindness and compassion out into this world," Einerson explained.

She calls them "stuffies on a mission." Einerson came up with a compassionate backstory of how the bigger stuffed toys would take care of the little bird who is afraid to fly and that’s why they carry it around in a satchel.

Einerson said children need to learn about kindness early on and the toys are a great way to do that. She also uses the toys to help honor her parents.

For the month of April, 100 percent of proceeds of this blue bird benefits Donate Life America. She will also donate 10 percent of every sale all year long.

Her father, Gary Einerson, had three transplants, "so obviously organ transplant became important to our family."

At the age of 73, Gary Einerson became one of the oldest donor recipients in the Wisconsin area. He had two corneal transplants and a liver transplant. A few years later, his wife Sandi passed away and became the oldest donor in the area.

Now it's his mission to volunteer his time to educate the public.

"I speak to different groups," he said. "Driver ed classes, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, things like that, on transplant."

"The most important thing to understand is," he said, "we can save lives, and we have saved lives. I’m a walking, living example of that."

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