A gathering that honors and remembers the true
of organ and tissue transplantation-our donors!
NJ Sharing Network’s Sara Castellvi shares a warm embrace with a member of the Caposele family at the Donor Family Memorial Program.
NJ Sharing Network held our annual Donor Family Memorial program to honor our donors and their families on October 23rd, 2011. Over 400 donor family members, NJ Sharing Network staff and transplant recipients gathered together at the Pines Manor in Edison for this moving tribute. For 19 years, NJ Sharing Network has hosted this moving ceremony, a time to remember, comfort and heal.
The ceremony began with a welcome from President and CEO, Joseph Roth. Following an invocation by Senior Family Support Coordinator, Jay Arisso Jr. the remembrance candle was lit by Jay Arisso Sr., a kidney recipient and Family Support Coordinator. Then we heard from several people who openly shared their experience with donation and transplantation. Kimberly Young, a tissue recipient, explained how thankful she is to her donor. Double lung recipient, Jessa Scott, reflected and thanked all donor families for the amazing second chance at life their love ones have given. Roy Larsen, who asked to be introduced as a donor dad, remembered his beautiful daughter, Rebecca, her amazing life and the gifts that she gave. Each speaker left a lasting impression on all.
In an emotional and meaningful portion of the ceremony, many families came forward and contributed a quilt square in memory of their loved one. These will be sewn together to create our next "Quilt of Love."
The program concluded with a presentation to each family. As the name of each loved one was announced, NJ Sharing Network staff presented the families with a “Wrapped in Love” shawl, hand-made by volunteers, a Gift of Life Donor Medal, a picture frame (donated by the Lion's Eye Bank of New Jersey) and a beautiful memorial rose. Families had submitted a photo and personal tribute of their loved ones. These photos were gathered to create a powerful video and memorial keepsake booklet that was presented to the families. The booklets were made available through a grant by the NJ Sharing Network Foundation. Donor father, Roy Larsen explained, “Thanks to NJ Sharing and its wonderful people, Carol and I continue to heal.” A donor wife expressed, "The past months have been tough ones for me -- but Sunday was a beautiful memory for a beautiful man and so many other persons.”
Thank you to all our families. It is a privilege to honor and remember our donors—they are the true heroes of transplantation.
View photos from this event.
Tributes from the 2011 Donor Family Memorial Program, Family Names A-K
Tributes from the 2011 Donor Family Memorial Program, Family Names M-Z
Please view the 2010 photo slideshow tribute
View and download full resolution versions of all the pictures from the 2010 event
Comments from families who attended the program
"Thank you for all your efforts! This was a truly beautiful memorial. It brought great comfort to see so many families whose loved ones gave the gift of life."
"I brought a friend- she said she'd like to know how to designate herself as an organ donor, now that driver's licenses are digitized."
"I went away with a good feeling knowing that this was a day to remember our loved ones, whose untimely death brought to each and everyone of us great sorrow, and at the same brought hope and life to a donor recipient and their family. Thank you for the day."
"We had a wonderful first experience at the ceremony. We were touched and honored to receive gifts. We feel proud to be a donor family to help others. We look forward to attending other events and to be a part of the network. Thank you for honoring us and our loved one."
"If I could describe the family memorial ceremony in the terms of flowers, you would not possess a bouquet but rather the whole world would be your garden. I thank you all so very much for what you did for me that day."