The decision to give the gift of life is truly a selfless act of generosity. Although donation can comfort a donor family in the midst of tragedy, we understand that losing a loved one is always painful. In an effort to help ease this pain, LifeCenter Northwest provides donor families with an honor quilt to remember their loved one and their incredible gift.
At the hospital, before organ recovery, an honor quilt is placed over the patient and follows the donor and family throughout the donation process. Each quilt was designed with complete intentionality and allows for personalization in order to remain intimate to the family. Space for the donor’s foot print or hand print is incorporated into each quilt and can also be used to write messages, sign names, draw pictures, or serve as a space for other dedications from friends and family. As the quilt is wrapped around the donor, it becomes the last thing keeping them warm and provides protection and comfort during those final hours.
These quilts serve as a reminder of the selfless act of donation for many. From the designers and the volunteers who prepare them for families, to the LifeCenter support team, hospital staff and of course, the donor families. As the quilt moves through the hands of each, the gravity of its intention is imprinted.
Sarah Harper, a recipient mom, knows firsthand the impact donation can have. When her son, Eddie, was just 3 years old, his heart failed; having a heart transplant was his only hope of survival. In 2012, they finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel; Eddie received a new heart at Seattle Children’s Hospital. After experiencing the dread of nearly losing her youngest son, and the joy of his second chance, Sarah describes organ donation as “a way to paint a silver lining on the darkest storm clouds. A new beginning, a continuation of life, a miracle.” She has always been registered as an organ donor, but through Eddie’s journey has become dedicated to advocating for organ donation in her community. It was this drive that brought her to LifeCenter Northwest as a volunteer with our honor quilt program.
After a day of packing and preparing quilts, Sarah approached our team with an idea. At the time, we had two quilt sizes, one for adults and one for kids. Sarah suggested making even smaller quilts- lightweight and sized for infants. She took the project into her own hands, generously offering to make the quilts herself with the help of a friend. Thanks to Sara we have now incorporated the infant quilts into the on-site support for our littlest donors and their families.
We are beyond grateful for the close relationships we have built with donor and recipient families. To witness the impact donation has made on people like Sarah, and how the experience has inspired her to give back, is humbling. Without the generosity of the families we work with every day donation wouldn’t be possible. We would like to extend our most sincere thank you to all of our incredible community advocates for continuing to spread awareness about the power of organ, eye, and tissue donation.