06/28/2002 — The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) announced today the creation of a National Donor Memorial as part of its new headquarters currently under construction in Richmond, Virginia. Charles F. McAfee, a living donor and UNOS Vice President of Patient and Donor Affairs, described plans for the memorial at UNOS’ Board of Directors meeting held today in Orlando.
The memorial will honor American organ and tissue donors and their families, highlight the impact of their gift of life on the lives of so many others and underscore the critical importance of increasing organ donation.
McAfee chairs a volunteer committee consisting of organ donor family members, living donors and recipients that is guiding the design of the memorial. “We have worked hard to ensure a unique and sensitive experience for every visitor,” he said. “We are also committed to making the memorial accessible to everyone on the Internet.”
A key highlight of the memorial will be an Internet-based repository of tributes to organ donors with visuals and text supplied by their families or transplant recipients. At the memorial site, an outdoor pathway will draw visitors into the UNOS headquarters lobby and to a freestanding computer kiosk and corresponding video wall monitor where tributes will be projected on a large scale. These tributes will thank, honor and celebrate organ donors.
Although honoring and remembering organ and tissue donors is the primary objective, UNOS also sees the memorial in all its components as a vital call to action. In addition to celebrating donation and transplantation and thanking the thousands of individuals who have generously given others a second chance at life, the memorial serves as a compelling awareness tool, inspiring all its visitors to say “yes” to organ and tissue donation.
A dedication ceremony of the memorial will take place during National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week in April 2003. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson has agreed personally to preside over the dedication, thereby drawing national attention to organ and tissue donors and the vital need for donation.
Richmond-based UNOS, a private non-profit organization, manages the nation’s organ transplant system through a contract with the federal government and oversees the world’s most comprehensive database of clinical transplant information. UNOS staff operates the 24-hour computerized organ sharing system, matching donated organs to patients registered on the transplant waiting list. UNOS also seeks to increase organ donation through education and improve transplant success rates through outcomes-based research and policymaking. UNOS-developed technology applications are recognized internationally by transplant scientists and health officials as the model for organ sharing.