Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital and the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA) dedicated the “Wall of Life” on Monday, June 28th to honor the heroes who gave the ultimate gift to others–life. Family, friends, hospital administration and LOPA officials were on hand for the dedication ceremony.
The “Wall of Life” is meant to honor those individuals that gave of themselves, but it is also to bring awareness to the importance of organ donation. The idea for the memorial came from a statewide campaign to increase the number of registered organ donors. Stephen Wright, CEO, Christus Louisiana, said that the Louisiana Hospital Association had a goal of increasing the number of registered organ donors by 100,000. That goal, according to Wright, was reached within six months. “Once we reached that goal, we decided that we needed to double that goal to 200,000 over the next 6 months,” said Wright. “I am proud to say that we have already reached that goal.”
Wright also explained that Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital wanted to do something to continue to increase the number of registered donors. “We challenged ourselves,” said Wright. The end result was the “Wall of Life,” which holds the photos of the heroes that have donated organs and tissue. “We thought this wall would be a great way to honor those that donated and also to continue to raise awareness of organ donation,” said Wright.
Also speaking during the ceremony was Dr. Juan Soliven, Intensivist, Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital. Dr. Soliven is a living organ donor having given one of his kidneys to his father. “I understand the tremendous sense of fulfillment knowing you have given to someone else,” said Dr. Soliven. Dr. Soliven also wanted everyone to know that their loved ones and friends continue to live on through those that received the donations. “Just as my kidney lived on through my father while he was still alive, your loved ones live on as well through other people,” he explains.
Much of the ceremony was spent thanking the families for allowing Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital the opportunity to honor their loved ones. “It is an honor for us to display these beautiful photos,” said Lisa Lauve, Administrator, Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital. “It was a wonderful gift they gave to others.”
According to LOPA, there were 400 lives saved in Louisiana in 2009 because of organ and tissue donation, but there are over 100,000 on the waiting list for donation. One donation has the chance to save a number of lives. The donation of an organ has the chance to save up to 9 lives and the donation of tissue has the ability to save up to 50 lives. There are two ways to register to be an organ donor. You can register online at www.lopa.org or you can make your choice known when you get your driver’s license renewed at the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles.