Inspired by American flag raising ceremonies, a Canadian prairie city now regularly raises its own flag after every living or deceased donation opportunity.
“We wanted a public way of acknowledging the generous act of organ donation,” said Dr. Adrian Robertson, Medical Director for Gift of Life, Manitoba’s program responsible for coordinating and supporting organ donation in the province. “Every time this flag is raised, it signals to the community that a decision has been made to give the gift of life and it honours those who have said yes and donated life-saving organs.”
Every year in Manitoba approximately 35 people become organ donors through deceased and living donation. To recognize the remarkable gift, a specially designed flag is raised at HSC Winnipeg in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and serves as a symbol of courage, compassion and generosity.
Based at HSC Winnipeg, Transplant Manitoba consists of five dynamic teams dedicated to caring for individuals before and after transplant, and includes the Gift of Life. Team members worked with a local design firm to develop a unique flag that invites viewers to reflect on its swirling lines and interpret that image on a personal level – be it ever-widening ripples on water or ribbons intertwining into one. The team also met with hospital officials and security staff to further develop the existing flag site and create workable flying protocols.
It is hoped the flag, which was first raised this summer, will accomplish several things including giving families a place to mourn, remember and celebrate their loved one and their decision to donate, to celebrate a living donor’s decision to give, and finally, to signal hope for those waiting for transplantation.
To share the meaning behind the Gift of Life flag and why it flies, a video was created with the help of some amazing people, including a wonderful donor family. The team is truly grateful for the people who participated because sharing stories is so important to raising organ donation awareness. If organ and tissue donation is something you support, please talk to your family and register your donation decision.