Seventy families gathered in Edinburgh this week to honour loved ones who gave organs after their deaths to save the lives of others.
A the fifth annual ceremony, held this year on the 7th of September in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens, each family received the St John Scotland Award for Organ Donation, inscribed with the words ‘add life, give hope’.
Family members attending the ceremony were also invited to visit Scotland’s National Memorial for Organ and Tissue Donors, commissioned by the Scottish Government and created within the Royal Botanic Gardens by artist Alec Finlay.
The Prior of St John Scotland, Major General Mark Strudwick, who presented the awards to family members, said: “St John Scotland is exceptionally proud to be working alongside NHS Blood and Transplant for the fifth year running in order to facilitate this incredibly important annual event.
“Dedicated to saving and enhancing life, St John Scotland appreciates how important organ donation is, and today we recognise the courage of inspirational families who gave permission for their loved ones' organs to be used to save the lives of others."
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “The pride families feel at these ceremonies is inspirational. Transplant patients tell us that organ donors and their families are heroes. This award is a chance for us all to recognise their bravery and generosity, and their amazing contribution to society.
“We hope these awards will inspire other people in Scotland to tell their families that, should they die in circumstances where they could become a donor, then their wish to be a lifesaver would be carried out. Families tell us donation is a source of pride that helps them in their grieving process and we don’t want anyone to miss the opportunity to donate. Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.”
Speakers at the ceremony included Major General Mark Strudwick, Prior of St John Scotland, Lesley Logan, Regional Manager of Organ Donation Services Scotland, Pam Niven, Programme Manager of Organ Donation and Transplantation with the Scottish Government, Dr Iain MacLeod, Scotland’s Lead Clinician for Organ Donation and Gordon Hutchison, the recipient of an organ donation.
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323. It’s also incredible important to tell family of your decision. A few words can now make an extraordinary difference.
Photo credit: Organ Donation Scotland