Staff Spotlight: Leslie Casperson is saving lives Up North

Leslie cropped

Hospital donation advocate builds culture of donation at northern Michigan hospitals

When Leslie Casperson talks about her job, it sounds like poetry.

Leslie Casperson with a Donate Life flag“I get emotional about my work because I love helping people,” she said. “I’m honored to work for Gift of Life Michigan and I can’t imagine doing it any other place than with the champions of donation in northern Michigan.”

As a hospital donation advocate in Traverse City, Leslie is a crucial bridge between Gift of Life, 12 hospitals, donors and their families.

She evaluates critically ill or injured patients to help determine donation opportunities and sometimes talks with grieving families after they’ve received a prognosis about a loved one that will change their lives forever.

Leslie also educates medical teams about organ donation protocol and supports them in their donation work. All of it requires clinical skill, relationships and a keen understanding that life can change in a minute.

“Any of us could be in this situation at any moment,” Leslie said. “Organ donors got up that day thinking it was like any other day.”

The largest hospital in her coverage area is مركز مونسون الطبي in Traverse City, which has been named Gift of Life’s Hospital of the Year. Leslie’s work at the Level II trauma center contributed significantly to the hospital’s success.

She’s a trusted and supportive presence there.

Staff at Munson Medical Center are very supportive of donationLeslie has built her career on a childhood dream to be a nurse. She was 5 when her brother scraped his knee and she just knew. After 28 years as an RN caring for patients at Munson, she began working for Gift of Life two years ago.

“Organ donation captures the essence of why I chose nursing in the first place. I get to help people,” she said.

Leslie and teams at Munson helped 22 patients give their final gifts of organs last year, and tissue donation more than doubled.

“She’s special,” said Jenna Davis, a Hospital Development manager. “Leslie is like a member of the family there and with her clinical knowledge and passion, more lives than ever are being saved by donors in Traverse City.”

Leslie humbly points to champions of donation at every level of the 442-bed hospital. Like Eric Jean, Munson’s ICU manager and Gift of Life’s Donation Liaison Champion for 2024.

“Munson’s mission statement is, ‘We improve lives’ and the former CEO said donation is one of the most profound ways Munson does that,” Leslie said. “The life-altering ripple effect for patients and families is incredible and we get to do it every day.”

“I’m honored to work for Gift of Life Michigan and I can’t imagine doing it any other place than with the champions of donation in northern Michigan.” – Leslie Casperson

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