Mercy-St. Louis Honors Donors With Wall of Tears
Posted June 19, 2013 in News Category
The Emergency Department and Organ Donor Council at Mercy-St. Louis have considered many concepts for an on-site donor memorial over the last few years. The staff charged with developing and implementing an idea decided on a timeless replica of a tribute at the National Donor Memorial Garden.
“It was important for Mercy to let families know when they donate, they’re not forgotten,” said Ed Hubbell, Director of Emergency Services and Urgent Care for Mercy-St. Louis. “It’s a critical link in our mission, not only to meet the needs of a transplant, but to meet their spiritual and physical needs. Part of that is having somewhere for people to go and spiritually reflect and compose what has transpired.”
The groups suggested a replica of the Wall of Tears, which is located at the National Donor Memorial Garden on the campus of the United Network for Organ Sharing in Richmond, Va. The memorial includes water falling over stones, etched with the words, “friend, wife, son, daughter, mother, sister, husband, brother, father.” The water symbolizes the tears shed by donor families.
“What’s nice about this memorial is that even though it’s an organ donor memorial, you can sit there and look at it grieving for all losses,” Hubbell said. “It really speaks to the entire population of the hospital. In fact, some of the people we’ve already seen there are not Donor Families, but people who have just lost a loved one and go there to reflect.”
The memorial was dedicated on April 17, 2013 after about one year of construction. With the help of Cathy Grasso, a project manager at Mercy -St. Louis, the team located St. Charles-based Humidifall, which specializes in indoor waterfalls. The memorial includes a small bench and a plaque.
“Because of the selfless decision to donate, more than 557 people received a life-saving transplant last year, and thousands more benefited from tissue donations,” said Dean F. Kappel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mid-America Transplant Services. “This memorial acknowledges the compassionate decision to donate and the selfless act of giving life to another through organ and tissue donation. It’s a wonderful tribute to all donor families and their loved ones.”
The memorial was supported by many different departments at Mercy, including the emergency department, pastoral care, intensive care, trauma care and physicians. In addition, the Mercy Health Foundation funded the entire project.
“Mercy has shown their dedication to and support of organ and tissue donation through the construction of the memorial fountain in the chapel,” said Nicole Kellen, an MTS Family Support Specialist assigned to Mercy-St. Louis. “The purpose of the fountain is to honor not only the tremendous gift given by donor’s and their families, but to also remember those who have received and those still waiting. I am honored to work with such amazing staff.”