Donate Life Month – Paying Tribute to Donors and their Families

Legacy of Life Hawai’i’s Donor Remembrance Ceremony

Honolulu, HI  (April 27, 2013) – As a part of National Donate Life Month, Legacy of Life Hawai‘i will hold its annual Donor Remembrance Ceremony this Saturday, April 27 at the Ko‘olau Golf Club, to celebrate those who have selflessly given the gift of life.

Keynote speaker for the event is Hawai‘i psychotherapist Lani Leary, Ph.D. widely recognized for her work with the chronically ill, dying and those who have lost loved ones.  Dr. Leary will offer fresh insights and skills into the grief process in her talk “The Anatomy of Grief.” Her recently published book, No One Has to Die Alone: Preparing for a Meaningful Death serves as a resource and guide for those who are caring for, or are grieving, the loss of a loved one.

The boys from Manoa DNA will kickoff the luncheon with a special musical tribute. A video tribute to organ and tissue donors will follow culminating with the names of donors read aloud by a transplant recipient.  A high school junior from a Maui donor family will offer reflections on her brother’s heroic nature, and two transplant recipients will express their gratitude and reflections on having been given a second chance at life through organ donation.

Also to be unveiled at the event are the Donor Remembrance Quilts displaying squares created by donor families honoring their loved ones. Each square is made of photos, mementos and keepsakes of each organ and tissue donor to highlight the uniqueness of the individual. Year after year, the quilts reflect the healing love of the donor families, a display that is lovingly stitched together by the team of Legacy of Life Hawai’i volunteers and staff.

At the Quilt Pinning Ceremony families share a memory, describe how the design was chosen and/or share a poem on the story square. The pinning ceremony is significant because families give the square to Legacy of Life Hawai‘i, entrust it into their care after having invested their love and energy into creating it. This is symbolic, as these same families had entrusted their loved ones into the care of Legacy of Life Hawai‘i in order for donation to have occurred.

The event will conclude with the Monarch Butterfly Release at 1:00 p.m. when 100 monarch butterflies are released in honor and in memory of Hawaii’s organ, tissue and eye donors. The butterflies are cared for on Maui and brought to Oahu by one of the donor families early on Saturday morning. Each donor family receives one monarch butterfly, symbolizing the renewed hope their loved ones gave to the many transplant recipients by consenting to organ and tissue donation.

The butterfly symbolizes hope, rebirth, peace and emergence from darkness into a new life, which is similar to a family’s experience of grief. Families at the time of the darkness of grief, somehow find the strength to give the gift of donation. Many families consider the releasing of the butterfly to be a releasing of the spirit, or a way to send a message or wish to their loved one on the butterfly’s wings. Families find much comfort when the butterflies linger - find a place to rest on a lei or nearby flower - families often express a sense that their loved one is near.

Schedule of Events at the Donor Remembrance Ceremony

Saturday, April 27 2013

Activity Time Location
 Healthy Healing Workshop - Lani Leary, PhD 9:30 AM Mauka Room
 Quilt Pinning Ceremony 10:30 AM Grand Ballroom

 Program and Luncheon
·      Welcome, Stephen Kula, PhD, Legacy of Life Hawai‘i President and CEO
·      Blessing, Susan Gaffney, M.Div., Chaplain
·      Luncheon Musical Tribute
·      Greetings – Justine Finney, donor family member and student council officer from Maui Baldwin High School

Keynote Speaker – Lani Leary, PhD – The Anatomy of Grief
(Video) Reflections & Gratitude from Transplant Recipients – Sabrina Josue and Veronique Perry
Video tribute to our Donors – Names read by Yolanda Domingo, Heart recipient
Presentation of Mementos

11:00 AM to Noon Grand Ballroom

Monarch Butterfly Release

  Grand Ballroom Lanai

Sunday, April 28, 2013 (10:00 AM - Noon)

First kidney transplant recipient at the Queen’s Transplant Center to meet her organ donor’s family (Media Advisory to follow.)  10:00 am – Noon Pagoda Floating Restaurant, Pagoda Hotel
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