Public space honors organ donors, their families

planting hostas to remember organ donorsA living memorial to local organ donors resides just outside Carle Heart & Vascular Institute.

Hostas now flourish under the Donate Life flag that flies whenever someone loses their life but allows others’ lives to go on. Organ donors’ families recently gathered to share memories of loved ones lost. They planted long-lasting greenery and took home Remember Me plants from the Carle Life Team.

“Our employees and the families we work with feel very strongly about the value of organ donation. At every turn, we want to provide our support and our gratitude,” said Amy Bandy, director of Medical-Surgical and the Critical Care Unit.

Working closely with Gift of Hope, local efforts encouraging people to sign up as potential organ donors are saving lives.

“Your loved ones have touched our community in so many ways,” Gift of Hope’s Lola Lewis told organ donors’ families. “Organ donation creates a ripple effect beyond what you can even imagine. You have touched more people than you will ever know with one important decision.”

In 2016, Carle organ donations have saved 39 lives, the total number of live saved in all of 2015. Last year, 15 patients donated organs while 13 already donated organs less than halfway through 2016.

These numbers represent both great joy and great sorrow for families, as well as for Carle staff.

The Carle Life Team focuses on organ donations and includes staff from the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, Medical-Surgical, NICU/Pediatrics, Chaplain Services and Gift of Hope.

hostas for organ donors' families Carle nurse and organ recipient Kim Busboom thanked families for their spirit of giving during the worst of times.

“In my time as a nurse, I’ve held a lot of hands. I’ve shed a lot of tears,” she said, thanking the family of the woman whose kidneys help keep her alive today.

“I’ve never met them, but I pray for peace for that family every day, and I thank her every day.”

To become an organ donor—or to make sure your wishes are clear—visit LifeGoesOn.com today. It truly only takes a few minutes.