UofL Hospital has a long time commitment to their patients and families who are experiencing end-of-life decisions. Creating an environment that fosters quality end-of-life support is important to the culture within the hospital. The health care professionals work collaboratively with Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) to give families the opportunity of eye, organ and tissue donation.
On April 13, 2018, a new memorial honoring organ donors was unveiled outside UofL Hospital, at a special unveiling ceremony that coincided with National Wear Blue and Green day, part of Donate Life Month activities.
“This permanently reminds us of and represents the gifts and the sacrifice that have been given by the dozens and dozens of donors that have come through this hospital over the decades,” said Glen Franklin, M.D., a trauma surgeon at the hospital.
The Gift of Life Donor Memorial is sculpted from stone and stands more than five feet high with a bronze plaque featuring two hands holding a heart and the words “Gift of Life Donor.”
Doctors, nurses and staff of UofL Hospital, along with donor families, organ recipients, and representatives from Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) and the Trust for Life Organ Donor Awareness Program, were in attendance as the memorial’s cover was removed and the Donate Life flag was raised behind it.
Franklin said the memorial had been eight years in the making with years of fundraising and a final design decided upon last year. UofL Hospital and KODA employees, transplant recipients and donor families began raising money to fund a memorial on hospital property in 2010, beginning with the Legacy of Life Walk that year.
In addition to honoring organ donors, the memorial is designed to help raise community awareness about organ donation.
“People are used to seeing survivor walls, but these people didn’t survive. But because of their selfless gift others lived. It’s an opportunity to honor them and their families,” Franklin said.
Donna Edwards’ son Mike became an organ donor at age 25 after he died in a workplace accident. She attended the unveiling with her granddaughter.
She said the memorial is extremely meaningful for her.
“When I pass and see this memorial for the donors, it makes me feel good inside,” Edwards said. “It helps to know all they do here at this hospital to help save lives.”