Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) unveils its “Wall of Heroes” this Thursday night to honor those who have given a part of themselves so that someone else could live a healthier life – or in many cases, simply live.
The display consists of a specially designed mosaic created for HCMC, along with an interactive kiosk containing names, photographs, and stories of HCMC organ, tissue and eye donors submitted by both donors and their families. The kiosk will also contain informational articles about the importance of organ donation, a direct link to sign up as an organ donor, and an opportunity to support the Wall of Heroes.
The mosaic artwork was funded by the Hennepin Health Foundation and created by local artist Michael J. Sweere, whose inspiration came from the themes of “transformation” and “new life.” A special focus group of family members and former patients who have been touched by organ donation suggested the themes, which are represented in the artwork by a garden with insects, birds and flowers.
Last year, the hospital, along with the special family focus group, LifeSource, and the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank began meeting to talk about the project that remembers and honors individuals who were organ, tissue or eye donors – either living or deceased.
Rosemount native Jenny Grill’s experience with donation was so positive that she also volunteered on the Wall of Heroes committee to help spread awareness about organ donation. She hopes that the Wall of Heroes not only honors those who have donated, but also serves as a way to encourage others to donate.
“Through HCMC’s involvement of the paired exchange program I was able to donate a kidney to my mom, even though I was not a match. Now my daughter, born a year and a half after donation, is able to experience the love and joy of a healthy grandma.”
Inspirational stories like Grill’s will be featured from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday Aug. 22, when families, friends, transplant patients, kidney donors and others will honor the gifts of organ, eye and tissue donation at the unveiling of the Wall of Heroes – which is expected to draw more than 500 guests, including Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, whose daughter, Rachel suffered fatal injuries in a car crash in 2000. She was also a registered organ donor.
In addition to the excellent input from families, the Wall of Heroes project could not have been successful without help from the Hennepin Health Foundation, Minnesota Lions Eye Bank, and LifeSource.
According to HCMC, nearly 3,000 patients in Minnesota are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and many more are touched by the healing gifts of tissue and eye donation. HCMC partners with LifeSource and the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank to facilitate the gifts of organ, eye and tissue donation. Minnesotans can register to be donors by checking the box on their driver’s license or state ID cards or online at www.DonateLifeMN.org.
Courtesy of Hennepin County Medical Center staff