When our family recently attended a donor celebration ceremony held by the Gift of Life Foundation, Juliet Culp, Karl’s oldest sister, found out about the great need for organ & tissue donors in Michigan. She decided to set up a table outside our local parish, Our Lady of Victory Church, over the National Donor Sabbath weekend and give people information about becoming a donor. She hoped that by debunking myths and giving people the opportunity to sign-up with ease and expediency she would be able to persuade one person at least, maybe five, into become an organ, tissue and eye donor. After speaking at all the masses over the weekend and hosting a booth in the atrium, she managed the amazing feat of signing up 175 people.

Here is her speech:

Hello, I am Juliet Stockhausen Culp and I want to tell you a little bit about this being national organ, tissue and eye donation Sabbath weekend. Did you know signing the back of your driver’s license to be a donor is no longer valid? Did you know there is no age or medical condition that excludes you from signing up to be a donor? (The oldest donor in MI was over 90.) Did you know that if you want an open casket there is no outward indication that you were a donor? Did you know that by law, only after a patient is officially deceased can they find out if that patient was a donor? Do you have a red heart on your diver’s license above your photo? My youngest brother did.

Dr. Karl Stockhausen wanted to spend his life in the service of healing others, which included being an organ, tissue and eye donor. He was 24 years old and in medical school when he was afflicted by AMPPPE, a rare eye disease that left him with blind spots in both eyes. This did not deter him; he kept on with medical school. At 26 he was diagnosed with cancer, he finished and graduated medical school while battling the cancer for two years until he died last year at age 28. The cancer took his life, but it did not diminish his will to be of service to others.

Even with the eye condition and the cancer he was able to donate his corneas and gave sight to a man in Battle Creek, Michigan and a woman in New Milford, New Jersey. He donated his body to the University of Michigan Medical School. His choice to be a donor was the ultimate gift and changed their lives forever.

This weekend is National Donor Sabbath, a time to talk to your family about organ, tissue and eye donation. We each have the power to change the world…to give hope to others through the gifts of life, sight and mobility. Please think about organ, tissue and eye donation and consider signing up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. I will be available in the atrium to answer questions, provide brochures or sign up anyone interested. It takes less than 30 seconds.


Please, sign up today to become an organ, tissue and eye donor. Still worried? This page can answer a few common questions you might have.