2017 Global Organ Donor Commemorative Event

Today, November 30th the 2017 Global Organ Donor Commemorative Event, the first ever global event honouring organ donors, took place in cities across the world and was organised by Strange Boat Donor Foundation, based in Galway. The project involves the unveiling of a commemorative sculpture, gifted by an Irish city to a representative city on each of the five continents. The sculpted pieces are 5' 5" tall stone candles, symbolising the light of humanity shone through donation, and are replicas of the stone candle in the Circle of Life National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden in Salthill, Galway. The designate cities, all of which are associated with world class centres of transplant excellence, are Cape Town, Barcelona, Melbourne, New Delhi and Boston.

The date chosen was designed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the world's first heart transplant at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town in December 1967. The event involved the choreographed unveiling of the sculptures in each of the cities for global amplification of the message of goodwill and gratitude to organ donors and the broader organ donation community.

The purpose of the project is to give expression on a world stage to society's appreciation and gratitude for the life-giving gift made possible through organ donors and their families. It will also help promote the cause of organ donation and transplantation globally. The project is being initiated by Strange Boat Donor Foundation in association with Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI).

Strange Boat Donor Foundation was founded by Denis and Martina Goggins from Spiddal, Co Galway in 2006 following the death of their son, Eamonn, at the age of 26, in a road traffic accident, and whose organs were donated to help others live. In 2014, Denis and Martina created the Circle of Life Garden in partnership with Galway City Council.

The Circle of Life national organ donor commemorative garden is located in the beautifully sited seafront Quincentennial Park in Salthill overlooking Galway Bay and reflects the spirit of giving, the enduring legacy which defines the lives of organ donors. It is a special place of thanksgiving and commemoration, and through its mix of imagery, symbolism and sentiment, engenders feelings of positive transformation, healing and hope.

Pictured at the Circle of Life National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden in Salthill, Galway to mark the first ever Global Organ Donor Commemorative Event today, the 50th anniversary of the world's first heart transplant at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town in December 1967 are Martina and Denis Goggins.

See www.odti.ie for more information on organ donation and transplantation.

Last updated on: 30 / 11 / 2017