Versiti - Amy Barwick | Impact Stories

Amy Barwick

“I benefitted greatly from my experience, so I’ve always been a huge advocate for organ and tissue donation.”

Amy Barwick

Amy Barwick knows firsthand the impact that tissue donation can make. She was born with a congenital spinal deformity called Scheuermann kyphosis, which causes the spine to become curved. As a child, she wore a back brace, but her condition worsened as she got older. At age 15, she underwent major back surgery and received a cadaver bone transplant, as well as blood and plasma transfusions, to help her heal.

“It’s a unique situation; they knew I would have a significant amount of blood loss during the surgery, so they had me self-donate,” she says. A week prior to her surgery, Amy donated her blood and plasma, which were then given back to her during the operation, along with blood products from donors.

Thankfully, Amy’s surgery was successful, restoring her movement and quality of life. “I benefitted greatly from my experience, so I’ve always been a huge advocate for organ and tissue donation,” she says. “A lot of my personal experience has driven me to my career path as a physical therapist. I’m not saving anyone’s life, but I’m trying to make it better. I understand how important that is.”

When it came time to deliver her second child, Amy wanted to give back by donating her placenta, which can be used to help burn victims, people with diabetic ulcers and many more. “I liked that it was able to help people; otherwise, it would just go in the garbage,” she says. “If people can benefit from this, I would love that.”

In addition to walking the walk, Amy talks the talk by advocating for organ and tissue donation. “It’s the gift of life; try putting yourself in their shoes,” she says. “If you needed it, would you accept it? If you would accept it, you should give it. It’s a full circle.”

Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the organ transplant waiting list.

Approximately 113,000 men, women, and children are waiting for life-saving organ transplants. One organ donor has the power to save up to eight lives and change the outcomes of someone’s world forever by giving them a second chance. Additionally, tissue donation can save and improve the lives of up to 75 people with their gifts. You can make a huge impact by registering as an organ and tissue donor.

Learn more about organ and tissue donation, or register as a donor at


Impact Stories | Organ & Tissue Donation

Beth Diekema
After hearing about a boy whose life was saved by an umbilical cord blood transplant, Beth was inspired to donate her daughter, Claire’s, cord blood when she was born.
Annette Washington
At just 20 years old, Robert’s life was tragically cut short when he was shot by his father. His mother, Annette, honored his wishes and donated his bone, skin, tendons, ligaments and veins so that he could improve the lives of others.
Gigi Sanchez
After he passed away from sarcoma in 2015, Noe Sanchez donated his corneas to give the gift of sight to someone else.
Danielle Pauer
Danielle delivered her third daughter via planned C-section and made the decision to donate her placenta so that it could be used to heal others.
Placenta Donation Program
Are you an expectant mother with a planned C-section? Learn more about placenta donation.
About Blood Donation
Donate blood, donate plasma or donate platelets at a blood donation center near you or a blood drive near you. Make an appointment to donate blood today.
Organ, Tissue & Eye Donation
Versiti Organ and Tissue is an organ procurement organization focused on increasing the Wisconsin donor registry though community outreach programs.
Share Your Story
Versiti invites you to share your story and photo to help encourage more people to give back. You may even be featured throughout the year on our social media.