Every April during National Donate Life Month LifeNet Health Donor Family Services sponsors our In Celebration and Remembrance events in three Virginia locations: Roanoke, Richmond and Norfolk. We celebrate and remember our donors, who have given the Gift of Life and their families who have made the gifts possible.
We invite you, our donor families, to join us in this safe and caring environment to commemorate and mourn your loved one. We know that especially for newly bereaved families it can be a difficult and brave decision to attend. Many families have told us so, and that they were glad they made the decision to attend, that they felt welcomed and comforted among those who share the grief experience.
After registering you are invited to browse tables displaying many of Donor Family Services’ programs and services (see below for a list). There is a Tribute table where you can place a photo or a few keepsakes of your loved one. Please know there is limited space at the table for these displays.
The ceremony typically includes some short introductory remarks by LifeNet Health staff, and remarks from donor families and transplant recipients. Beautiful music is interspersed throughout the ceremony, inspiring the hope of lives saved and transformed.
In what is certainly the most powerful and central part of the ceremony, we invite the families to come forward to a table adorned with vases of flowers to receive one of those flowers in honor and remembrance of their loved one and, if you wish, to speak her or his name. There follows a photo slideshow of all the donors published in the 2014 commemorative book “Giving Hope”.
After the ceremony all are invited to retire to the reception area to partake of buffet foods and to mingle with other donor families and LifeNet Health staff, who are eager to meet and get acquainted with our families. You can also at this time browse the tables if you hadn’t time before the ceremony.
You will notice our LifeNet Health Donor Family Quilts on display. We are constantly creating new quilts. If you are interested in submitting a quilt square for our next quilt please go to the Creative Workshops display table and ask for a blank quilt square and ask any questions about that.
For Newly Bereaved Families
We know that deciding to attend such a gathering can be intimidating and scary. Please know that we create a safe and comforting environment in which those who are grieving the loss of a loved one can feel that you are among family who all are experiencing their own grief. If you are attending by yourself, it can be helpful to be accompanied by another family member or good friend who will support you. Our Donor Family Services staff and many donor family volunteers are on hand to offer you support as well. Please don’t hesitate to ask anything. Also, know that it is ok if you decide you “just can’t do it”. We hold these events every year and you will have ample opportunity to attend in the future.
LifeNet Health Donor Family Services Displays include:
- Tribute table
- Healing the Spirit website http://www.healingthespirit.org/
- Hope’s Heroes – an animated video that describes tissue donation to children http://hopesheroes.org/
- Grief Companion Program http://www.healingthespirit.org/for-donor-families/grief-companion-program-1-from-brochure/
- Online Support – donor families Facebook group and email support group http://www.healingthespirit.org/for-donor-families/facebook-group/
- Healing Tears: Ask Dr. Lani Leary a question http://www.healingthespirit.org/category/words-of-hope/healing-tears/
- Blogs where you can tell your story, read others’ and much more http://www.healingthespirit.org/blog/ http://www.healingthespirit.org/blog/
- The Healing Garden – A Child’s Place for Remembering http://www.healingthespirit.org/the-healing-garden/
- Creative Expressions where you can sign up for upcoming workshops
- Donor Family Services information