Gift of Life Awards Ceremony at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia, March 3, 2016.
Gift of Life Awards Ceremony at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia, March 3, 2016.

Each year, we have the honor of collaborating with Washington Governor Jay Inslee for the Governor’s Gift of Life Award ceremony at the Capitol building in Olympia. On March 3, we honored 93 individuals who gave the gift of life through organ donation last year in Washington state. Collectively, these donors saved the lives of over 400 people. Their families were invited to the capitol for a ceremony with Governor Inslee in which they received a certificate honoring the gifts given by their loved ones.

Having a personal connection to donation himself, the Governor acknowledged the power of donation and the difference it made in the life of his son, a cornea recipient. He also recognized all those involved in the donation process, from the hospital staff to the donor families, and most importantly, the heroes that left a legacy through the generous act of organ donation. In addition, LifeCenter Northwest presented the framed floragraph, a floral portrait that adorned the Donate Life Rose Parade Float, of Peleiupu Leiatau to his family and thanked them for their generosity and dedication to donation.

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) was also honored for their collaborative efforts to spread donation awareness and presented a certificate for recognition as part of the Roses for Registries dedication at the 2016 Rose Parade. More than 99 percent of donors in the state of Washington registered through the DOL. Our collaboration with the DOL has led to 84 percent of Washington residents over 18 being registered as organ, eye and tissue donors, which is the third highest percentage in the nation.

Raymond Craig's family and heart recipient
Donor father, Steve Craig is pictured between his wife, Patty, and his son’s heart recipient Keilah Hansford at the Gift of Life Ceremony March, 3.

The parents of Raymond Craig, a donor from 2015, were present at the ceremony, accompanied by Raymond’s heart recipient Keilah. Keilah and the Craigs listened as Raymond’s name was read in the long list of Washington donors and the trio later visited the Senate Floor to witness the signing of a resolution designating April as Donate Life Month in Washington state. The Leiatau family was also present on the Senate floor.

We want to acknowledge and thank all the donor families for their unwavering dedication to donation advocacy. Your powerful stories speak to the hearts of many. We, at LifeCenter Northwest, could not do this without you and can’t thank you enough for your courage and support!

A similar event will be held in April at the Montana Capitol building in Helena to honor Montanans who gave the gift of life in 2015.