SODA Spotlight: How SODA Made a Life-Saving Impact on Adrianna Doucas
Updated: Apr 21
Shari Deeken, Editorial Consultant
Meet Adrianna Doucas, who graduated last December from the University of Wisconsin with a major in Biology and a minor in Global Health. Because her goal is to become a physician, Adrianna currently works as an Emergency Room Technician while she studies for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
A friend of Adrianna’s, who had volunteered at the Bloodcenter of Wisconsin, was approached about starting a SODA Chapter at UW. This friend asked Adrianna to join her with creating the chapter at their campus. Adrianna agreed, and said they immediately began planning.
“When my friend asked me about starting the UW-Madison chapter, I was enthusiastic about not only starting a student organization and growing as a leader, but also about learning more about organ donation and the importance of advocacy,” she said.
Regarding the launch of SODA at her school, Adrianna continued, “It was incredibly rewarding having the chance to be a part of the introduction and building of this organization on my college campus and performing the meaningful work that came with the opportunity.”
In addition to her role as a UW SODA Chapter co-founder, Adrianna took on the extra responsibilities of being chapter treasurer as well as external programming chair. She believes these diverse experiences with SODA have equipped her with skills, knowledge, and passion that will certainly assist her on her future career path.
“SODA has given me the education and knowledge about organ donation education and registration that I never had before. I truly cherish and am in awe of all that I have learned about the donation process, all of the individuals involved, the care and connections that can be facilitated between donor and recipient families, and so much more,” she said.
Adrianna said that through learning about the importance of raising awareness, teaching people about the importance of donor registration as it relates to how vast the waitlist is, and how very few people pass away in a manner that allows them to be a donor, experiencing first-hand how many people believe in the myths about organ donation and being able to educate them and change their positions, and helping educate and register people, “has made me a lifelong, passionate advocate.”
Although Adrianna doesn’t have any personal connection to organ transplantation through friends or family, she met many children waiting for transplants while she volunteered at children’s hospitals during the last six years.
“Each was incredibly inspiring and courageous,” said Adrianna, continuing, “Seeing such young children suffer the painstaking wait for a miracle organ along with learning about just how many children and adults alike are on the waiting list motivates me to advocate for the importance of being a registered donor.”
Adrianna said that her favorite part about SODA was the opportunity to share her knowledge to change someone’s mind about organ donation. “At our numerous tabling events throughout the semesters, I was able to encounter lots of college students who misunderstood one or multiple aspects of donation, and, as a result, they were not registered donors. So, being in SODA. equipped me with the knowledge and tools I needed to improve their understanding.
Adrianna said that the conversations that resulted with her actually registering students as organ donors were extra rewarding. “I am so thankful for the platform SODA gave me to be able to make a real change,” she said.
Her personal vision for SODA is that it will become available at every U.S. university in the future, so that students everywhere can be educated about organ donation, and that donor registration can be maximized to save as many lives as possible. Adrianna also hopes that other students can be fortunate enough to have the leadership, education, advocacy and passionate role that she had held with SODA at UW.
Looking for ways to make an impact by starting a SODA chapter? Learn more about joining SODA's life-saving movement through organ donation and registration here! https://www.sodanational.org/get-involved