Mother hopes sculpture at Maine Med will encourage organ donation

The “Tree of Life” sculpture stands outside the main entrance of Maine Medical Center. It will be formally unveiled Tuesday. The sculpture was created with welded steel and copper by the father-and-son team of Rod and Merton Blood of Lovell. The copper leaves were given a patina of verdigris. Staff photo by Ben McCanna
The 'Tree of Life' will be unveiled at the Portland hospital on Tuesday.

The mother of a young organ donor who died in 2010 and later donated one of her own kidneys to a stranger said she hopes a new sculpture at Maine Medical Center will encourage others to become organ donors, too.

Hallie Twomey of Auburn led the fundraising effort to install the “Tree of Life” sculpture at the main entrance of the hospital in Portland’s West End. The sculpture will be formally unveiled at a ceremony Tuesday, when Twomey will see it for the first time.

“The timing of this is pretty profound,” she said.

Tuesday is just a few days away from the anniversary of the death of her son Christopher John “C.J.” Twomey at age 20. She said he shot himself in front of her during an argument on April 14, 2010, and died the next day. He had identified himself on his driver’s license as an organ donor.

Wracked with guilt and sadness over his death, Twomey, who had been volunteering for New England Donor Services in support of organ donation since her father received a successful heart transplant 14 years ago, stepped up her efforts to spread the word about organ donation.

“I just needed to do more than I had,” she said. Continue reading