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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

INTERNATIONAL ORGAN DONATION AWARENESS-UK-DONOR MEMORIAL APPEAL LAUNCHED

Source: Community Newswire

A charity is appealing for funds to create a national memorial for organ donors.

The Donor Family Network announced the £250,000 fundraising appeal today, saying the new memorial would provide the opportunity for personal and public recognition of the gift of organ donation.

The Gift of Life Memorial will be situated at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, with regional memorials placed in locations across the country.

The charity said it would be a place of reflection, recognition and remembrance that could be visited by members of the public and those affected by organ donation.

The design will feature a central mosaic featuring a butterfly and a forget-me-not made from bronze and glass.

The memorial appeal is being supported by many people who have been affected by organ donation, including Eunice Booker, from Kent, who lost her daughter Kirstie in a car crash in 2006.

Kirstie, who died aged 26, had carried a donor card since she was 15 and Eunice honoured her wishes and donated her organs for transplant.

Kirstie went on to save the lives of five other people, including a newborn baby.

Eunice said: "When we are having our bad times it helps to know that Kirstie has given five other people plus their families the chance to take life in both hands and embrace what is in front of them. To me this is the ultimate meaning of the Gift of Life.

"It is important for people who have not been touched like us to be reminded about how important it is and the memorial will be a lasting reminder to register on the Organ Donor Register."

Northamptonshire man Frank Daley, whose wife of 38 years, Jen, donated her organs following her death in 2008, is also backing the appeal.

Frank, from Brackley, said: "Organ donors need recognition and the memorial is a way to say to people who would take an organ, why not give one?

"Jen's headstone reads: 'She gave the Gift of Life' as we are so proud of the fact that she has given other people the ultimate gift."

The creation of a memorial is also supported by Sue and Nigel Burton, from Grantham, both trustees of the Donor Family Network. Their son Martin donated his organs following his death in 2003 at the age of 16.

Martin died after suffering a bleed on the brain and went on to donate his lungs, kidneys, liver and corneas. Sue and Nigel have subsequently been able to meet the recipient of Martin's liver, who is doing well.

Sue said: "The memorial will provide a lasting tribute that acknowledges and gives recognition to the Gift of Life Martin gave to others.

"It is somewhere for us to visit to remember Martin with pride and to reflect on special occasions.

"The memorial will be a place for all families whose lives have been touched by organ and tissue donation to say 'we remember them' and mean it and where recipients and their families to give thanks to an often unknown donor."

Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst, patron of the Donor Family Network, added: "The Gift of Life Memorial is a fantastic project that provides recognition to those who have become organ donors.

"I hope that people will support the project and say 'thank you' to those families who have honoured their loved-one's wishes to give the Gift of Life."

The Donor Family Network is run by donor families for donor families. The network has two main aims, the support of donor families and the promotion of organ and tissue donation. For more information visit www.donorfamilynetwork.co.uk.


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