An organ donor memorial has been unveiled at The James Cook University Hospital to mark the start of this year’s Organ Donation Week.
The ‘dandelion clock’ will be a permanent tribute to commemorate the selfless act of patients and their families who have decided to save others through the gift of organ donation.
The glass sculpture was inspired by the dandelion’s seeds that are carried by the wind to start new life, representing that when one life ends another begins.
Families will be offered the opportunity to have their loved one’s name or a message engraved on its colourful petals.
Janine Langthorne, specialist nurse for organ donation, said it is hoped that the memorial creates a quiet place where donor families can go to remember their loved-ones.
She added: “We really wanted to create a memorial to say thank you to our very special organ donors and their families who in their darkest hours have made the very kind and generous decision to save the lives of other people.
“Every day across the UK someone dies waiting for a transplant. You could save or transform up to nine people’s lives by donating your organs when you die and help even more people by donating tissue, such as your heart valves and corneas.
“I have the honour of working with families whose loved ones have gone on to donate; they take great pride and comfort knowing their loved one leaves a legacy of saving the lives of others.”
Janine is urging people to spend this year’s Organ Donation Week talking to their families about whether they would like to be a donor.
Organ Donation Week is a national event that celebrates organ donation, raises awareness and encourages people to talk about organ donation and share their decision.
Janine added: “This spring, the law around organ donation changed meaning that all adults in England will be considered as willing to donate when they die, unless they have recorded a decision not to donate, are in one of the excluded groups or have told their family they don’t wish to donate.”
The memorial was designed by Laura Johnston Studios who also created the dichroic globe for the hospitals atrium.
The glass used in Laura’s work is specially coated meaning it changes colour depending on where you view it and in sunlight projects dappled coloured light all around.
She said: “I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to be involved in this project and be able to help create a space for the families for come and think about their loved ones.”
It is hoped that an official opening will take place when special guests can be invited to the hospital, when COVID restrictions are relaxed.