Earlier this year, families of organ donors gathered at the unveiling of a special sculpture revealed at Trentham Gardens, in Staffordshire. Six months on, the impact is still being felt with Specialist Nurses from NHS Blood and Transplant reporting a rise in registrations and greater awareness of the importance of organ donation.
The bespoke piece ‘Beyond Ithaka’ was created by local artist Robin Wight and provides a reflection point for families who have lost loved ones, as well as raising awareness of the difference organ donation can make.
The unveiling of the sculpture was featured in an episode of ‘The One Show’ and more than 200 people attending the event earlier this year. The day after the episode aired, national organ donation registrations rose by nearly 65%.
National figures demonstrate that there are around 7,000 people on the UK transplant waiting list. Last year more than 470 people died whilst waiting for a transplant.
The Royal Stoke Organ Donation team is made up of Kirsty Lazenby, Rebecca Journet, Bethany Dorsett and Jill Sutton, who said: “The sculpture provides a beautiful and dignified place for people to remember loved ones who have donated or received an organ. The aim is to also help raise awareness of organ donation and help to get that conversation started. We’ve met so many people in different areas across the Trust and further afield who have seen Beyond Ithaka and talked of the message it brings and it is always met with such positive words.
“We’re so proud of the response we’ve had. Not only has it raised the profile of Organ Donation in and around the local area, but I think it has given the staff who attended the event and have since seen the broadcast or visit the sculpture a real sense of pride. We can’t make organ donation happen without the efforts of the staff in our key areas. Staff consistently show a passion and a dedication towards organ donation and making sure that all families are offered the very best end of life care possible.
“Our combined efforts at Royal Stoke to ensure that organ donation is discussed with every family whose loved one is a potential organ donor has meant that Royal Stoke has firmly cemented its position as one of the top donating hospitals in the country.”
Alastair Budd, Director of Trentham, comments: “Trentham holds special memories for many and its beautiful and peaceful grounds make it an ideal place for reflection and to remember loved ones.
“Organ Donation Week takes place from 26th September to 2nd October and is a really important time to build awareness of the incredible difference organ donation can make. We are so proud to have come together with NHS Royal Stoke Hospital to create a meaningful memorial for the loved ones of organ donors, as well as creating an important talking point for all our visitors.”