Lifesharing team members created a memorial wreath to honor recent organ and tissue donors
Lifesharing saved a record 424 lives in 2020, successfully overcoming extraordinary challenges presented by COVID-19. Determined to carry out their mission, our team achieved two incredible milestones: a record 143 organ donors and a record 424 organs transplanted in a single year. These efforts were made possible by the amazing generosity of our donor families and the phenomenal support of our hospital partners. In addition to saving lives, Lifesharing also facilitated the donation of 66 organs for research and coordinated tissue donation for 455 individuals last year. To ensure the safety of the transplantation process, all organ and tissue donors are being tested for COVID-19. In announcing the record year, Lifesharing Executive Director Lisa Stocks told her staff, “This is unprecedented. The only way I can explain it is that the team persevered… I have so much gratitude in my heart for our staff, hospitals and families.”
One of Lifesharing’s heroes was recognized on New Year’s Day in a stunning tribute unveiled in Pasadena. Leia Parker, 2, was one of 21 organ donors memorialized on the 2021 Donate Life floral sculpture titled, “Community of Life.” The artwork was displayed on the lawn of the Tournament House and was the only floral installation in Pasadena this year, due to the cancelation of the Rose Parade. Leia’s floragraph, a portrait carefully crafted with seeds and coffee, was showcased in a vibrant honeycomb surrounded by fresh flowers and giant colorful bees. (The design symbolized the strength of community and the importance of working together, much like honeybees do.) This beautiful exhibit was a fitting tribute to Leia, a happy and bright little girl who loved mermaids and unicorns. Named after Princess Leia from Star Wars, young Leia was indeed a “rebel” — her parents nicknamed her General Leia because she “ruled” the Parker family home with joyous laughter. On Star Wars Day 2019, a swimming accident sent Leia to the hospital and, despite all efforts, her life could not be saved. Her parents donated her organs and she saved three lives when Lifesharing found matching recipients for her heart, liver and kidneys. Leia’s corneas were also donated, giving sight to two women. Through the gift of life, Leia gave each recipient a new hope…
The 2021 Donate Life Floral Sculpture Unveiled
Tribute to Lifesharing’s 2021 Rose Parade Honoree Leia Parker
News Coverage: 10News on 1/1/21
When a family says ‘yes’ to organ or tissue donation, they give patients a priceless gift: the chance for a new and better life. The value of this gift — and the fact that it is given during a time of great pain and sorrow — is never lost on us. During the holidays, we make an effort to give back to the community that has given so much. Our Family Services Team — including Camille and Paulina, pictured here — adopted a family and organized a gift drive for them. A few days before Christmas, they left our office with a car full of gifts which they delivered to the family’s door. It’s a small gesture of goodwill to show our overwhelming gratitude to this amazing community in which we live and serve. At Lifesharing, we are humbled to carry out organ and tissue donation in San Diego and Imperial Counties. We are beyond grateful to all of our donor families and hospital partners who have helped us with our mission 🙏
Thank you all for being part of the Lifesharing family. Sending you peace and love this holiday season.
Every year, Lifesharing creates a beautiful ofrenda (altar) to honor its recent heroes. Celebrated on November 1 and 2, Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday where it’s believed that the spirits of our deceased loved ones return to earth.
Lifesharing team members spend hours creating traditional sugar skulls for each donor — personalizing them in unique and beautiful ways: Watch video here.
Lifesharing traditionally holds an annual memorial ceremony to honor its recent organ and tissue donors. This year however, COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the event due to the ban on mass gatherings. Still determined to honor our heroes, we instead created a film to honor our donors. It was officially released on October 23, 2020: Watch video here.
San Diegan Claire Tipler was an expressive visual artist who loved painting, photography and dance. When she passed away at the age of 21, she saved 3 adults and one child through organ donation. (Lifesharing found matching recipients for her heart, liver and kidneys.) Over the summer of 2020, Claire’s mother organized an art project in memory of her daughter and our team was humbled to take part. In this video produced by Lifesharing, Claire’s parents describe her passion for art and adventure and how organ donation helped them find meaning in the wake of their daughter’s death. In a second video for Lifesharing, Claire’s mother describes the organ donation process step-by-step, calling it “a sacred process.” Watch video here.
The end of Donate Life Month marked the beginning of a new tradition — Donor Remembrance Day. With all public gatherings canceled because of COVID-19, Donor Remembrance Day was a digital-only event which spread across the internet on April 30th, 2020. Donor families and transplant recipients were encouraged to harness the power of social media to pay tribute to those who gave gift of life. Lifesharing released a Donor Remembrance Day video which celebrated San Diego heroes, while the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) created a “Remembrance Garden” to honor donors from across the country.
In the late 1990s, Chris Truxaw collapsed at school. A firefighter approached Christopher’s mother with tears in his eyes, as he explained that her son’s heart had stopped. Chris was eventually placed on the waiting list for a new heart at the tender age of 13. Without a transplant, doctors gave him only six months to live. Chris was getting weaker by the day — he was confined to a wheelchair and his skin was blue from a lack of oxygen.
And then, his family got the call — a matching heart had been found. The 10-year-old organ donor hero did what no doctor could do…. he saved Christopher’s life. A few years later, Chris honored his donor by competing in the 2002 Transplant Games. In a speech, he told the crowd: “He [the heart donor] freed me from my cell… I rose from the dead, able to rejoin humanity.”