Organ Donation: ‘Talk about it with your families’

Representatives of families who have donated organs pictured, in Altnagelvin Hospital, at the launch of the Network Commemorating Organ Donation. From left are Pat McShane, Kathleen Hart, Kevin Brolly and Mary Higgins. DERR3615GS080
Representatives of families who have donated organs pictured, in Altnagelvin Hospital, at the launch of the Network Commemorating Organ Donation. From left are Pat McShane, Kathleen Hart, Kevin Brolly and Mary Higgins. DERR3615GS080

The lead clinician on organ donation in the Western Trust has urged local people to register to donate their organs after their death - and to let their families know of their wishes.

Dr. Declan Grace said: “Organ donation is the greatest gift one person can give to another.”

He made his comments as a new piece of artwork acknowledging those who have donated organs and their families was unveiled at Altnagelvin Hospital on Friday.

It was one of two pieces commissioned by the Trust to commemorate those who have donated a organ and provided the gift of life to someone else.

The pieces were created by local artist Bronagh Corr-McNichol, Artscare Artist in Residence at the Trust, with the second piece hanging in the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.

Speaking at the unveiling Dr. Grace said: “I hope people will pause to admite these beautiful pieces of artwork and remember the wonderful contribution of individuals and their families who, at a time of great loss and suffering, commit to saving the lives of others through organ donation.

“We want to encourage people to consider and discuss organ donation.

“If you want your organs to be available for donation it is important that you indicate your wishes with the closest to you.

“One donor can save the lives of several people and improve the quality of life for many more.

“The more people pledge to donate their organs and tissue after death, the more people can share the benefit.”

The unveiling was arranged to coincide with National Transplant Awareness Week - and the artwork has been given the name ‘Gifting Life, Giving Hope’.

Artist Bronagh Corr-McNicholl said the work was inspired by a morning walk, where she watched wild swans take flight.

Added to this she used feathers - something people from many religions and backgrounds find solace in - to carry her message.

“In many cultures, be it Christian, Muslim, Celtic, Egyptian, feathers are something which symbolise ascension.

“I know a lot of people take solace from the arrival of a white feather.”

The sister pieces are based on similar themes but Bronagh has used different mediums. In Altnagelvin, the artwork is in the form of a traditional painting with the feathers moulded from acrylic.

In the South West Acute Hospital, she has used digitial photography and crafted the feathers from porcelain.

The piece in Altnagelvin is currently on display in the foyer of the tower block but will be moved to the new hospital building upon its completion.