Galway will be among a number of cities participating today (Nov 30 ) in an Irish-led global commemorative event taking place at which organ donors and their families will be remembered, and their generosity acknowledged. This global event involves an inter-city gifting of stone sculpted candles, symbolising the light of humanity shone through donation, and will also include the reading of an open letter expressing the deep sense of appreciation and gratitude felt by society to organ donors and their families.
As part of this global project, an event will also be held at 2pm in the Circle of Life National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden in Salthill at which Mayor of Galway, Cllr Pearce Flannery, will be joined by members of the organ donation community from across the country.
In his address, Mayor Flannery will speak about the message going out today from various cities across the world - from Cape Town; Melbourne; Boston and from Derry and Belfast.
“This is all-Ireland reaching out to deliver a truly historic global project showcasing our country and our cities in an exemplary, altruistic, progressive and leadership light.
“It is a legacy project, the imagery of which will attach to our city long into the future and to the Circle of Life, National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden, which we are so very proud of here in Galway,” he said.
During this ceremony the three Irish transplant hospitals and their staff; Beaumont, The Mater and St Vincent’s, will each be presented with a carved plaque of appreciation by the three transplant associations; the Irish Kidney Association, the Irish Heart & Lung Transplant Association and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.
Dr. Emer Curran, Consultant Intensivist at UHG will read the open letter to donor families at the Galway event.
At a special commemorative event at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, a candle sculpture, gifted by the people of Galway to the citizens of Cape Town, will be unveiled. This ceremony will be part of a major event marking the 50th anniversary of the world’s first heart transplant which was performed there by Dr. Christiaan Barnard on 3rd December, 1967.
At a similar event in Boston on Thursday, a candle gifted by Belfast will be unveiled, Derry is gifting to Melbourne and Limerick is gifting to Derry. An intercity commemorative event involving Dublin and Barcelona has already taken place, and a Cork/New Delhi gifting will take place in the new year.
Similar presentations will take place in both the Botanic Gardens in Belfast, and at St. Columb’s Park in Derry where a candle sculpture gifted by Limerick City & County Council will also be unveiled.
The candle sculptures are each a 5.5’ tall carved replica of the stone-sculpted candle in the Circle of Life Garden in Salthill. Each candle has a symbolic motif implant, carved from a stone from the Groote Schuur Hospital, creating a tangible link between each of the event centres and the wonderful pioneering achievements in Cape Town 50 years ago
Organised by Strange Boat Donor Foundation, in association with Organ Donation & Transplant Ireland (ODTI ), these global events will acknowledge on a world stage society’s appreciation and gratitude for the life-giving gift made possible by organ donors and their families. Through these events the organisers aim to increase global awareness of organ donation by reaching millions of people, and help establish a global organ donation awareness network that transcends national boundaries.
Strange Boat Donor Foundation is a Galway-based charity set up in 2008 to support the organ donation community, particularly donor families, and to promote organ donation. It was inspired by the life and memory of a young Galwayman, Éamonn Goggin whose organs were donated following his death in a car crash in 2006.