Donor Family Support
Tear of Hope
After the donation process has been completed, a THANK YOU letter is sent to the donor family. Unfortunately, due to legislative and socio limitations it is not possible to provide much information with regards to the specific use or transplant of the relevant tissue. We do however, endeavour to bring comfort through the confirmation that the tissue will be successfully utilised to improve the quality of life for another person(s).
The Tear of Hope was designed some years ago and still today, every donor family receives this exquisite handcrafted solid glass teardrop as a reminder of their wonderful gift in the midst of a terrible and personal loss.
With it, we say - THANK YOU - and demonstrate the hope and new life that was made possible through their sacrifice of tears.
Each Tear of Hope is handcrafted on order by Retief van Wyk - glass artist and lecturer at the TUT Glass Forming School - the only one of its kind in Southern Africa.
Donor Stories of Hope
"I met my wife Lorraine when we were 15 years old.
We were married for 18 years, and she fulfilled every single aspect of my life with so little effort it was amazing. We had it all, two wonderful kids, love beyond comprehension and complete and utter fulfilment. Even though I know that life happens, and it does not always happen the way you want it to, I was in a blissful state of happiness, thinking this will last forever.
One morning my life shattered when I received the news that my wife had passed away in a motor vehicle accident. At first I did not believe it, but the inevitable realization of the fact that my best friend was gone from this earth, just like that, with no warning, broke me.
Through the pain and tears I knew that if Lorraine* had thought about it before this day, she would have wanted to be able to help other people, even in death. It was strange to me that I could have such a clear conviction to donate organs at that moment, because we never really discussed it.
When I was approached a few hours later by a coordinator from CTE (Centre for Tissue Engineering) to ask consent for tissue donation, I knew that it would be what Lorraine* and God would want me to do. Signing the consent form was the hardest thing I ever did, but knowing it was the right thing to do, I signed and gave consent for her bone tissue, corneas and heart valves to be donated.
Almost four months have passed since, and not a day goes by that I don't cry and feel a big empty space in my heart, but knowing that Lorraine's bone tissue will help crippled children walk, her corneas already helped two people see and her heart valves will enable two young people to actually live their lives again, gives me a sense of peace.
Lorraine's* death was not in vain.
The knowledge that the legacy of love and giving Lorraine* believed in, have fulfilled other people's lives, just like she fulfilled my life while she was still here, gives me a great deal of comfort in this painful time.
My wish is that this God-given legacy of love and giving would be embraced by us all, so that everyone who has lost, or will lose a loved one might know the comfort that giving can bring."
"Bone donation had been my son's wish. He used to talk about tissue donation and when he died he would like his tissue to be donated to those who needed it most so as to live on. So, I fulfilled his wishes with an open heart and have been praying daily for those who receive them to recover.
I shall continue to teach people about tissue donation."
During August every year - Organ donor month - various Donor Tribute events are held around the country in memory of past organ and/or tissue donors. Whilst it is a sad occasion considering the loss suffered, it is also a celebration of the new life made possible through donation.
An invitation to the Tribute Days includes donor families, organ and tissue recipients and staff members in the donation and transplant field. We gather to pay our last respects to those who made it all possible, and for many it has become is a wonderful step in the healing process. Here the transplant recipients are able to tell their stories of how their lives were saved and changed for the better, and the donor family is comforted in the knowledge that their donation has impacted another family in such a special and remarkable way.
Tribute days often include a candle lighting ceremony, the planting of a tree and the release of balloons carrying special THANK YOU notes to the donors.