Saying thank you to those who gave all they could
On Saturday 4th July St George’s held a special ‘Tree of Life’ memorial paying tribute to, thanking and remembering the many people who have donated life-saving organs.
More than 120 lives have been saved over the last year thanks to donors and their families consenting to organ donation.
The tree, was positioned in Atkinson Morley Wing last year serving as a permanent reminder of the donor’s selfless gift. Their families are given the opportunity to engrave a leaf with their own personal message and place this onto a branch in remembrance of their loved one.
Trust staff, colleagues from NHS Blood & Transplant and the St George’s chaplaincy attended the Saturday service with over 40 donor family members. There were readings by both the trust chaplain Clare Carson, Sarah Shah, neonatal intensive care unit matron and Ashleigh Sherrington, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation. The families were then invited in their own time to come forward and place their engraved leaf on the tree.
Tiny Coller who recently lost her husband spoke at the memorial with her daughter Lucy: “The reason why we are all here this morning is because at some point we were confronted with the most horrible and tragic things that can happen to anyone: we have lost a loved one.
“We have lost Brian, our husband and father, on 21st March this year. In the midst of all the despair, unbelief and incredible sadness, we learned that Brian had a special blood type and because of his age and good health he would be an excellent donor.
“To us being able to donate Brian’s organs has brought us a lot of comfort. Comforting that his horrible accident was not completely pointless, but that it would provide other people with lifesaving changes, or a better quality of life.
“Gordon and Alicia were here to guide us through this process and support us as a family and we cannot thank everyone here at St George’s Hospital enough for their help and support.”
Gordon Turpie, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust said: “We are delighted to welcome back all of these very special families. It is a truly wonderful gift of life that they have been brave enough to consent to at such a sad and personal loss to themselves.
“Three people a day die whilst waiting for a transplant and it is only through the courageous acts of people like this that those waiting have hope. Our ‘Tree of Life’ serves as a reminder to us all of their gift.”
St George’s achieved the highest rate of organ donors in 2014-15 with 43 families deciding to say “yes” to donation, an increase from 27 families the previous year. We are the leading trust for organ donation in the UK. Our 77% donation consent rate is 10% higher than the national average. Something we believe endorses our approach to organ donation.