Donor Quilt Honors Donors

By Betty Aleck, Assistant Editor, The Leader-CourierReprinted with permission from The Leader-Courier

Wednesday, November 15, 2000

FERNLEY – According to national statistics, every 16 minutes in the United States a new name is added to the National Organ Waiting List and every day 10-12 people die waiting for a lifesaving organ.

The Reno Transplant Network is trying to change those statistics. Fernley’s Alice McKinney has been working tirelessly to create public awareness of organ and tissue donation.

She is also hoping to get families whose loved one has provided a lifesaving donation to participate in the Nevada Donor Quilt. The quilt commemorates the lives of those that have given an organ or tissue donation to either save or enhance the lives of another.

This Thursday and Friday the National Kidney Foundation’s National Donor Family Quilt will be on display at the Washoe Medical Center’s Employee Health Fair (November 16-17).

The National Donor Family Quilt is touring cities to enhance the sensitivity and effectiveness of the organ and tissue donations and to provide opportunities for families to grieve and grow.

McKinney has five blocks of hand-painted and embroidered images submitted by families of organ donors in northern Nevada.

Each square tells a story about the donor and the design.

McKinney’s square pays tribute to her son Mark, who perished in an accident and who gave his heart, lungs, kidneys, cornea, pancreas and tissue that helped to improve 70 people’s lives.

The quilt is an emotional reminder of those who have saved or enhanced thousands of lives through organ and tissue donation.

The National Donor Quilt is composed of squares that are individually designed by family members of organ and tissue donors and stitched together by National Donor Family Council Founder Margaret Coolican.

“Families embrace the idea of creating a lasting tribute to their loved ones. Each square is personalized with special details, such as photographs, poems, quotes and fabric from favorite clothing which honor the donor’s life,” said Coolican.

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