From Business Partner to Inspired Advocate with a New Perspective
For nearly two decades, Kim has supported the mission of saving lives through organ donation with steadfast commitment. Today, her support continues from a new perspective.
Before she started partnering with LifeSource in the early 2000s, she hadn’t heard of LifeSource. Initially, she participated in the LifeSource Golf Classic tournament to learn more about the organization and understand how she may get involved.
“Seeing the growth and success they were having. Understanding how hard the team works at what they do. It is just something that you look at and say wow,” says Kim. From there, it became part of her mission.
A Renewed Purpose and Perspective
In 2009, Kim’s brother Jeff died unexpectedly, and her family was approached about the possibility of organ donation. At that time, Jeff had recently moved back to Minnesota from Florida, so he hadn’t registered for his Minnesota driver’s license yet; and his family couldn’t find his Florida state license.
Kim and her brother had talked about organ donation in the past, and he told her he wanted to be a donor. Because they didn’t have proof of that decision, it fell to the legal next of kin, Kim’s mom, to give authorization. “My brother was on life support. He was 50 years old. It was really tough, but the LifeSource staff were good and patient with my mom, as we worked through the process and her misgivings.”
A few months after Jeff’s death, Kim’s family started receiving letters and things from the recipients of Jeff’s donations. Some of them were kids; this fact really made it real for Kim’s mom. She was never fully comfortable with the decision while we were at the hospital.
When Kim started reading letters from the little kids who received Jeff’s gifts, she got to hold those letters and see pictures of them. Kim says, “it made it real for her, and she understood at that point that he (Jeff) was an angel, that he was able to give even in his death. Mom thought that was a good thing.”
While the families never met in person, Kim shared that photos of the young recipients were placed on her Mom’s buffet among photos of Kim and her 12 siblings. “They became part of the family from that point forward.”
Start the Conversation and Inspire Others
Kim’s direct experience with donation kept her inspired to support LifeSource in honor of her brother Jeff. “Once I saw that human side of [donation] for my family, this is something that I have to support.”
Every year, Kim invites people to join her for a day of golf and conversation. Her invites include those who are unfamiliar with LifeSource’s work, or who have hesitated to register as an organ donor for some reason. Her goal: help them understand the impact of organ donation, and to inspire them to check the box.
“A lot of the people that I’ve brought with me over the years have gone on to be advocates as well. I now have a waiting list of people who want to be in my foursome! I look forward to it each year.”– Kim Thompson
One thing that surprised Kim was how many men, women and children that one person can help. Did you know one person can save and heal up to 75 lives through organ, eye and tissue donation? Kim’s brother saved and healed 33 lives. “It creates something in your heart that stays,” says Kim. A lot of lives were touched by Jeff’s choice to be a donor.