Sculpture celebrates the gift of life

Two identical sculptures have been installed by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at their hospitals in Basingstoke and Winchester ahead of Organ Donation Week (3-9 September), remembering and celebrating local organ donors.

Monday 03 September 2018

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2 - Sculpture , RHCHThe sculpture, named ‘An Hourglass of Butterflies’ has been installed to recognise the incredible gift of life given to others by patients at the end of their lives, with the support of their families. This permanent reminder of the life-changing difference organ and tissue donation can have serves not only as a place for families to remember and celebrate their loved ones, but for others to reflect on such an incredible act and consider joining the organ donation register.

‘An Hourglass of Butterflies’ was designed by  Tony and Karen Van De Bospoort of the Hospital  Art Studio and funded by the Hampshire Hospitals Charity. Tony and Karen have been working on the two 6ft sculptures for just over a year and have been working closely with the Trust.

The special event to unveil the artwork was  attended by family members whose loved ones  gave an incredible gift by becoming organ  donors, as well as members of staff from the hospital who have supported families through organ donation and staff from the NHS Blood and Transplant team, including Jeremy Brown, team  manager for south central organ donation and  transplant and Susan Richards, regional manager for organ donation and transplant. 

Susan Parker was there to remember her daughter Hannah who sadly passed away aged just 17 in 2005 after contracting meningitis.

As soon as it became clear that Hannah was sadly not going to survive, Sue started to enquire about organ donation in the hope that Hannah could help other families to enjoy more precious time together.

Sue said: “It was never a question about whether or not we would support organ donation, I knew it was something we had to do. At such a difficult and traumatic time, it was an easy decision to make and all of the staff were absolutely fantastic throughout our entire journey.”

The day had even more significance for Sue, as it was her birthday on the day of the unveiling. She added: “It’s of course really emotional being here today, but the sculpture is beautiful and being able to remember Hannah in this way on my birthday has made it even more special.

“I come to the hospital quite often, so will be making regular visits to remember my amazing daughter and others like her who have changed the lives of so many others.”  

Colin Jeffery understands of the impact of organ donation more than most, having first-hand experience of both making that important decision on behalf of a loved one, and also as an organ recipient some years later. 6 -Colin Jeffery BNHH

Colin lost his son, Ian, 11 years ago and made the courageous decision at the time to donate his organs. Over the years the family have received letters from some of the recipients, describing how thanks to the incredible gift they have led entirely different lives to the ones they were leading before this life-changing act.

Years later, Colin was the recipient of a kidney transplant and has seen how life-changing organ and tissue donation can be first hand.

He said: “I probably would’ve died without it, and there are so many things about life I can enjoy now that just wasn’t possible before.

“I think this sculpture is amazing, I have collected butterflies for years, so this is a very personal and fitting tribute for me. I hope this encourages other people to support organ donation when they see the sculpture and think about the people it represents.

John Emery saw the unveiling of the sculpture at the hospital in Winchester with his daughter Alison to remember his wife Molly, who sadly passed away at the age of 68 in November 2011. Molly had always been a vocal supporter of organ donation and had carried an organ donation card.

John said: “Even though it was a really difficult time for us all, making the decision was really easy because we knew it was what she wanted. It makes me really proud of her to know that she has helped other people.”

Alison now carries an organ donor card herself and encourages other people to support organ donation and have the all-important conversation with their families.

In the last four years, 428 people across Hampshire have received a life-saving organ donation from deceased organ donors.

Across the UK, there are around 6,500 people in need of an organ transplant, including around 150 children and teenagers. On average three people die every day in need of an organ transplant because there just aren’t enough organ donors. If you donate your organs after you die you could save and improve the lives of up to nine people, and help even more if you donate tissue.   
3 - Laura English And Sculpture BNHH

Laura English, a specialist nurse for organ donation at Hampshire Hospitals, said: “The decision to donate is life changing for so many people who are awaiting transplants. 

“It’s a privilege to work with courageous families who are making this decision at an incredibly difficult time. On one of their darkest days they think of others and support organ donation and this bravery must never be underestimated.

“Families can often feel comforted by this and are proud of the gift of life that their loved one is giving – the opportunity for another person, even a complete stranger, to have a second chance at life. It is very humbling work and I hope families find some comfort when they look at the sculpture.”

The sculpture was unveiled by Donna Green, chief nurse of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who also has a personal connection to organ donation, having seen the life-changing impact it had for a close member of the family.

Donna said: “I want to say a huge thank you to our clinical team here as well as the designers Tony and Karen for their hard work to create such a wonderful celebration of organ donation and a way to remember those who have given such a special gift. I’d also like to add my heartfelt thanks to the families who have supported organ donation in our hospitals. We see families come together in extraordinary circumstances to do something remarkable for others, and I have seen first-hand how life-changing this can be.

“We hope that this will not only celebrate and remember previous organ donors, but encourage others to support this life-changing decision.”

4 - Nurses With The Sculpture BNHH

Last year over 400 patients  died in the UK awaiting a transplant but through these  sculptures, the Trust hopes to  empower more families to  have a conversation about organ and tissue donation, and ultimately save more lives.

To sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk and tell your family that you want them to support your decision.

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