Hospitals honor donors and their Gift of Life
Posted October 26, 2011 in Hospital Partner News
Area Transplant Centers come together to honor the Gift of Life.
With a common purpose to honor donors and donor families alongside recipients from Saint Louis University Hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, the four transplant centers worked together with Mid-America Transplant Services to organize the Candlelight Memorial Ceremony in August.
More than 750 people attended the two-hour event at Highlands Park, where eight transplant recipients gave a rose to each donor family in attendance. Later in the evening, each person raised a lit candle in memory of those who gave the Gift of Life.
Coordinated by MTS, the evening was made special through the efforts of volunteers from each of the transplant centers. “Organ and tissue donation doesn’t just affect children, and it doesn’t just affect children on this side of town or that side of town,” Glennon’s Mary Foshage said. “It effects, and can potentially help, everyone. Yes, we’re all competitors (the four transplant centers) in the grand scheme of things, but when it comes down to it, we’re all about saving lives, and that’s the most important thing.”
Through in-person meetings, collaboration, and teamwork, the transplant centers helped create an inaugural event that received 98 percent satisfaction scores from participants. “It’s a blessing that we can come together, share resources, meet at the table and look forward to what we can do for other people and honor the donors,” SLUH chaplain Marilyn Lott said.
Gene Ridolfi, the Director of Transplant Services at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, said he was exposed to a different side of organ and tissue donation through the Candlelight Memorial Ceremony. “This event grounded me in the whole process of transplantation,” Ridolfi said after the event. “I’m fortunate that I reside on the side that puts healthy organs into sick people to make them better, and it’s easy to overlook what sacrifices and gifts these families have made. It was very touching and very moving, and I feel very fortunate to be here.”
St. Bernards unveils Wall of Heroes
St. Bernards Regional Medical Center made another commitment to honoring organ donors this summer. The Wall of Heroes was unveiled in June at a two-hour ceremony, which included raising the Donate Life flag, attended by about 50 people.
“The donor families were so appreciative to be able to honor their loved ones with the wall,” St. Bernards Chief Nursing Officer Brenda Million said. “It also means a lot to St. Bernards and our staff. We have employee’s family members names and photos on the wall. It is something we are very proud of.”
The Wall of Heroes is located near the Critical Care Unit and includes black-and-white pictures of donors from the past 10 years whose families sent in photos. The idea of the wall was created by an employee’s attendance at a national collaborative meeting, where she attended a session on how hospitals were honoring donors and donor families.
“Our ICU Nursing Director had seen this at another location and wanted to bring it here,” Million said. “But the inspiration behind the wall was the personnel commitment to organ donation and to the patients that have donated their organs. Many of these individuals were people we knew in our community and were very dear to us.”