What is the Donor Family Tribute?
Every year, Donor Alliance hosts the Donor Family Tribute to recognize and honor the donors who have given the gift of life through organ and tissue donation and their families. This memorable event, themed Lives Transformed, enables reflection on those lost and offers hope for new life that comes as a result of organ and tissue donation. This year’s Donor Family Tribute was held on Saturday, June 1st at the Denver Center for Performing Arts – Seawell Grand Ballroom.
2019 Donor Family Tribute Featured:
- Inspiring Speakers
- Colleen Reed, liver recipient, from Denver, CO: On August 25, 2016, with roughly 70 percent of her liver comprised solely of tumors, Colleen received a lifesaving liver transplant from a generous organ donor. In the midst of tragedy and loss, the donor’s gift saved Colleen’s life and the lives of others. Colleen spoke to the gratitude she felt towards her donor and donor’s family. She hopes to live in ways that bring honor to her donor’s life.
- Crystal Padilla, bone recipient, from Aurora, CO: At 33 years old, Crystal was diagnosed with a rare type of osteosarcoma, or bone cancer. A tumor had completely engulfed her arm leaving a bone transplant as her only option for effective treatment. Within two weeks a suitable donor humerus bone was found and Crystal underwent a nine hour surgery to save her limb and life. Crystal spoke to how grateful she and her family is for her donor and to her wonderful care team.
- Heartfelt Testimonies by Donor Alliance Staff:
- Sue Dunn, President & C.E.O of Donor Alliance: “Sometime in the last couple of years, you looked beyond your own immediate sadness and grief to offer the gift of life to someone you had never met, and most likely, will never know. Your gift transformed another person in ways that are unimaginable. Your gift also transformed you in ways that only you can know and appreciate. As you will experience today, the gift of donation has affected Donor Alliance as a staff, the larger community and organ and tissue recipients.”
- Lisa Lucas, Family Support Coordinator: “To say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the recipients your loved one and you have saved just does not seem to be enough. But thank you. Your loved one’s legacy lives on in those he or she saved. They also live on in myself and my colleagues. Every donor family we work with leaves a lasting impression upon us. Please know your mother, father, sister, brother, friend will not be forgotten.”
- Rocky Mountain Threads of Life Quilts: The quilts commemorate individuals who have given the gift of life through the donation of organs and/or tissue. Each square of the quilt is created to represent the thoughts and feelings a family member has about their loved one. Families were invited to create custom quilt squares honoring the memory of their loved one.
- Butterfly Memorial Wall: Families were able to decorate a butterfly in memory of their loved one. Before the ceremony, these butterflies were hung on the wall, for all to see and honor. After the event, families wereable to take the butterfly home as a small keepsake.
- Butterfly Seed Paper: Families were encouraged to write inspirational messages or notes to their loved one and hang the butterfly seed paper on lighted trees as they left the event. The seed paper represents the Lives Transformed that we are celebrated at the event on Saturday. Donor Alliance plans to plant the seed paper dedications at their office to sprout into a visual symbol of the legacy of each of your loved ones and their generous gift.
- Candle Lighting Ceremony: As their loved one’s name was read, families lit a candle as a way to remember and honor the legacy their loved one left behind.
- Bell Ringing: The ringing of a bell historically signifies new beginnings. As the event ended, families were invited to participate in a bell ringing ceremony led by Sue Dunn to honor organ and tissue donors with a symbolic ringing of the bells. To symbolize the generosity of these amazing souls, a special signal of five rings will represent:
- The gift given
- The life honored
- The life saved
- The family remembering
- The legacy continuing
Ways to Stay Connected:
If you’ve been touched by donation, we’d love for you to visit the many resources we have available.
- Donor Family Facebook Page *NEW*: This group was started by the Donor Alliance Aftercare Department for the purpose of providing a forum for donor family members to connect with and support one another along their grief journey.
- Donor Family Resources: Please visit our resource page for an extensive list of resources available.
Oh behalf of all of us at Donor Alliance, thank you to the heroic donor families for sharing your time and the memory of your loved one with us. It’s an honor to serve you.