Special event honours those who gave the gift of life

News / General / Patient & family Centred Care
By Meaghan Quinn

Organ and Tissue Donor Memorial Wall celebrates those who pursued the opportunity to give others the gift of life through donation

Outside the chapel in the Kidd 2 hallway of the Kingston General Hospital site, there is a special glass wall that changes a little bit every year. Known as the Organ and Tissue Donor Memorial Wall, it recognizes those who pursued the opportunity to give others the gift of life through organ and or tissue donation.

Twice a year the Critical Care team hosts an intimate event where the friends and families of donors are invited to return to the hospital to place the name of their loved one onto the memorial.

“To have this opportunity to come back and honour our father, thank the doctors and connect with other families who can empathize with our experience is very healing for our family,” said one donor family who participated in the Organ and Tissue Donor Memorial event. “It’s been a difficult process to go through but there are rewards on the other side.”

This month the event was held in the Burr 1 Gym over a two-day period to accommodate the number of family and friends who came out to celebrate their loved ones.

“I am incredibly grateful for the people here and the difficult choice they made during such a tough time,” says another donor family. “At the same time this is such a joyful moment for our family. Even though our daughter was young her life is still going on, for us it is never going to be over. We’re happy to look back on our experience and to have been able to help someone else and their family during our own difficult time, which everyone else here tonight knows and can understand.”

All Canadians are encouraged to pass on the gift of life by registering to become an organ and tissue donor.

“Ensuring your donation status is up-to-date is as simple as entering your health card information on the BeADonor website,” says Susan Warr, Organ and Tissue Donation Coordinator with the Trillium Gift of Life Network. “It takes two minutes but this one action can make a huge difference in the lives of many.”

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.

If you are a friend or family member of an organ and or tissue donor who received care at the Kingston General Hospital site, they are eligible to have their names added to KHSC’s memorial wall. There is no charge for this service.  Families who are interested in having a loved one’s name added to the memorial can contact kghdonormemorial@kingstonhsc.ca