Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Give the Gift of Life through Organ Donation - A Way to Creatively Cope with Grief

(Blogcatalog asked all members to blog today, Wednesday July 18, in the first world wide blogger social campaign to raise awareness about organ donation and the issues surrounding organ donation. Here is the entry for the Grief, Loss & Transitions Blog from Journey of Hearts. In addition to providing information on becoming an organ donor, I have also included information on how the families of the organ donors cope.)
Organ and tissue donors leave a miraculous legacy. They are living proof that death can bring life, that sorrow can turn to hope, and that a terrible loss can become the greatest gift of all. Every day they lead us on a journey of hope, renewal, and transformation.

National Organ Donors Memorial

Creatively Coping with Grief - Remembering Shannon
I have been inspired for years by the courage demonstrated by Jan and Jules Broom following the unexpected death of their daughter Shannon.

Bookmark Therapy: Jan and Jules created bookmarks from a combination of Shannon's Journal entries, poetry and artwork. They have given out 1,000's of bookmarks over the years.

I keep one of Shannon's Butterfly and Dragonfly bookmarks (shown in the photo) on my desk.

Angel Garden Tree: On Shannon's first birthday in Heaven, Jan and Jules created an Angel Tree in their garden. They laminated photographs of people who had blessed their lives and attached them to a fig tree with wind chimes.

Their Angel tree has grown to include others in the remembrance and celebration of Heaven Days and Angels.

Their story of coping with Shannon's death has been featured in the Healing the Spirit book as "Shannon Lives On." This book looks at nine stories of transformation in families whose loved one became an organ donor.

More Gift of Life Stories to Inspire
The Gift of a Lifetime
- Explores the stories of people awaiting organ transplants and puts faces on the topic of donation. The courageous people share their stories about the gift of a lifetime. At:

The Online Memorial Quilt - This online memorial gives visitors the chance to create and share an online commemorative quilt square for their loved ones.

More Donor/Recipient Stories to Inspire - This collection of stories is from the Organ Donor Site. At:

National Organ Donors Memorial Website - This Website hosts a collection of online tributes to organ and tissue donors created by visitors to the site to honor a loved one. At:

How You Can Become an Organ Donor?
While the Death, Dying and Bereavement guide at, I wrote a series of helpful articles with information on becoming an organ donor. The steps are pretty easy:
  • Declare your wish on your driver's license.
  • Join the donor registry if your state has one.
  • Include organ donation in your advance directives, will and living will.
  • Most important - Tell your family. They can be your advocate should you become a donor candidate and will be the ones doctors come to for consent.
  • Tell your physician, attorney, faith or religious leader, and friends.
  • Complete a donor card and carry it in your wallet.
The main thing to remember it that you need to let your family know of your wishes to donate. Be sure to read the pages on:
Others Blogging to Raise Awareness about Organ Donation
More about the BlogCatalog Organ Donor Awareness Challenge
Dyer KA. Organ Donation. October 2006:
Health Resource Service Administration (HSRA). Make Your Wishes Known.

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