Quilt features gift of life through organ, tissue donation
The quilt, which is on display now through June 17 at the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office, 255 Sunrise Center Drive, was unveiled Tuesday.
Lauren Fitting, Community Outreach Partnership Coordinator of Lifeline of Ohio, said Ohio has 11 such quilts with each quilt square done in honor of a loved one.
"Family members can create the quilt square and each is unique and each is respective of the personality of the person who was the donor," she said. "Some of them have pictures, some of them have drawings, little patches, things of that nature. It allows families to honor their loved ones."
The one displayed at the local office is called the "We Remember" quilt and features Lou Edwards, of Zanesville.
"It's a great thing. My husband is on there, right in that corner. It's such a neat thing that Lifeline of Ohio does. Not only does it help those who are in need of a donation, but also the people of the families who donate. It's such a comforting feeling to know that part of the person you loved is still doing some good. My Lou was a do-gooder and still is," Sue Edwards said.
The quilts include individuals from all over the service area. The quilts are displayed at BMVs, libraries and quilt shows so people can realize the importance of organ and tissue donation, Fitting said.
People can become donors when they get their driver's license for state identification card. They also can register online at www.lifelineofohio.org.
"We hear oftentimes from people about whether their age might prevent them from being able to go one and be a donor," Fitting said about common misconceptions about donors. "There is no age limit on organ and tissue donation. Even people who have had health challenges in the past can go on to donate. If donation is right for you, add your name to the Ohio Donor Registry and at the time of your death, if you are able to organ and tissue donate and that was your wish, we will do everything we can to honor that wish."
Judy McDonald, BMV Deputy registrar said displaying the quilt at the BMV is a good talking point when customers come to renew tags and licenses.
"We had a quilt here two years ago and it was really neat. So when they came around again, and we knew that Sue had the quilt square about Lou, we thought it would be a positive to have someone local," McDonald said. "I think more people will be aware now when you can see those who have given."
Sue Edwards' husband had made his wishes known to her about a year before his death from a heart attack, and although he had not registered through the BMV yet, his wishes were honored, thus helping 25 people in need.
"When it happens, it is so unexpected that you just kind of go blank. Lou did not have it on his license, but we had talked about it about a year before because Adam Burkhart was our neighbor and he received his heart almost a year to the day before Lou died," Edwards said. "When Lou passed away, I got a call at the hospital from Lifeline asking if we would consider donation and I knew that we had talked about it and that he had wanted to do it."
Talking about her husband and showing his love of golf on his quilt square, Edwards said her husband had been a generous, open-hearted man throughout his life and that his end-of-life donation was much in keeping with his character.
"It is great that he helped 25 people and so much like him. He was super. Lou was a big guy, very loving, very kind. He was tough and a Teamster, but he could be so gentle, like he was with the kids," she said. "He was an exceptional person and the best friend you'd ever want to have. He was very giving and this made him a best friend to 25 people that he never knew. I'm so comforted knowing that part of him is still here."