Organ and tissue donors honoured with special new memorial wall

News / General / Critical Care
By Meaghan Quinn

Organ and tissue donations save hundreds of lives across the province each year. Now, KGH has created a special space inside our hospital to recognize our many donors and their families – a new Organ and Tissue Donor Memorial wall located in the Kidd 2 hallway.

The idea for a memorial first came from a donor’s family. Hospital staff and physicians were quick to support the idea and after a period of consultation with patients and families, the funding was secured and a final design selected.

“To be able to have a public memorial recognizing the gift that Jessie gave and to have the opportunity to thank everyone who helped us during his care has meant a lot to our family,” said Louis Gallina, whose son Jessie was a donor. “To see his name on this memorial and to be here today to thank everyone, it makes me very grateful.”

KGH has about a dozen organ and tissue donors each year. The names of donors will be added to the memorial by their loved ones every April to mark Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness month.

“KGH is a leader among other hospitals in listening to family desires for a memorial and then making it happen. It’s a great idea and we will encourage other hospitals to do the same,” said Michael Ward, an adviser for Trillium Gift of Life.

The location of the new glass wall was chosen carefully after a review of several options by the committee involved.

“The memorial wall is located about half-way between our Operating Rooms and our Intensive Care Unit,” said Julie Caffin, Critical Care Program Operational Director. “It’s a spot where people will be able to stop and reflect on the gift of life that our donors have made.”

Through a donation, one organ donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of 75 others through tissue donation. Currently, more than 1,600 Ontarians are waiting to receive transplants and thousands await tissue transplants.

“Through Jessie’s donation there has been a small silver lining for us in this terrible situation by knowing that he helped save other lives,” said Gallina. “By having a public memorial I hope that others will be encouraged to explore the gift of donation.”

Families who are interested in having a loved one’s name added to the memorial can contact kghdonormemorial@kgh.kari.net. To learn more about becoming a donor, please visit www.giftoflife.on.ca