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Hospital Hosts Organ Donor Quilt

Quilt square made by Connie Ballard
Organ Donor Family Quilt

Media Contact: Ann Blackford, 859-323-6363, x230 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 3, 2009) - Handmade quilts often tell a story through the choice of fabric, colors and patterns. This tradition is vividly evident in the organ donor family quilt on display at the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital for four days during the month of April. The donor quilt comes to the hospital by way of Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA), an organ procurement organization that works with hospitals and transplant centers, including the UK HealthCare Transplant Center, to secure organs and tissue for individuals in need of transplant. The donor quilt display is part of several events planned at UK to commemorate April as Donate Life month bringing awareness to the dire need for organ and tissue donors.

Kentucky has four memorial donor quilts to date. Each 8 by 8 inch quilt square is made by a family whose loved one passed away and became an organ or tissue donor. The squares are made in many different mediums - counted cross stitch, embroidery, beads and personal effects. When completed, the squares are sent to KODA for assembling into a quilt.

Connie Ballard of Mt. Sterling, Ky. assembles the quilts as the squares are received. Ballard, a donor mom and member of the Kentucky Donor Family Council, has prepared squares for both the state and national donor quilts. She thinks of her quilting as therapy. Ballard's son, Jeff, died at age 37 of a brain aneurism. "Organ donation is something he would have definitely wanted to do," Ballard said.

"When I look at those squares, I feel what those family members feel and I connect with them. When I work with a favorite T-shirt, a jeans pocket or a memory button, I try to get it just perfect because it's personal to them."

The four donor quilts have traveled to nearly every hospital in Kentucky, bringing awareness of the newly created Kentucky Organ and Tissue Registry. During the days the quilt is on display, there will be a table staffed by KODA members where people can get more information on organ and tissue donation and add their name to the state's donor registry.

Currently, there are more than 100,000 people in the United States waiting on a life-saving organ or tissue transplant. Over 700 of these individuals are Kentuckians.

The UK HealthCare Transplant Center has been providing transplantation services since 1964. UK transplant surgeons now perform over 140 transplants each year. The faculty and staff of the Transplant Center specialize in the transplantation of all major solid organs, including the heart, lung, kidney, pancreas and liver. The Transplant Center has performed over 3,000 transplants to date.

The donor quilt and registry table will be on display in the hospital lobby outside the first floor gift shop on Sat., April 4, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Wed., April 15, 2 - 7 p.m. The quilt and registry table will be outside the Big Blue Deli in the Kentucky Clinic on Tue., April 14, 8 - 11:30 a.m.

Page last updated: 11/19/2013 4:51:03 PM