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In May 2008, the Multi-Organ Transplant Program organized and hosted a special evening to honour living organ donors and to acknowledge their noble and lifesaving gift. Throughout the evening, the guests were invited to write about their personal transplant experience on individual pieces of green fabric. These pieces would then be sewn together to create a handmade quilt that would serve as the first official TGH tribute to living organ donors.
Brigitte Talevski, a social worker in the Living Donor Program, says she was inspired by the tribute to deceased donors on the 7th floor and wanted living donors to be recognized in a similar fashion. Brigitte considered posting pictures of the event, but she felt the idea of a quilt would offer a more lasting presence and emotional impact than a photo display.
"Donors and recipients have a very special bond," said Brigitte, "and I felt that a quilt would represent how the lives of people involved in organ transplant were sewn together and forever connected by this shared experience."
The thoughts and thank yous written on the quilt patches illustrate this special bond. On one patch, someone has written the simple yet inspiring phrase, "Life is a gift, share it." After the event, the patches were carefully assembled and sewn together by Lorraine Marks, a former UHN transplant staff member. The finished quilt is now hanging in the Ambulatory Care reception room where it can be seen by patients and families.
– Kate Richards