We would like to offer our sincerest gratitude to everyone who attended our live virtual Whole Body Donor Day event on October 27th. This event is a special time for donor families to honor the legacy that their loved ones created, and we couldn’t do it without their continued support, as well as the support of countless end-of-life care professionals and pre-registered donors.
Our 2020 Event
For this year’s event, we decided to hold to our annual tradition of floating a memorial wreath our to water. As in the past, this beautiful, fully biodegradable wreath was created by Portland Florist Shop, who worked with us to ensure that our wreath wouldn’t have any negative impact on our local Oregon environment.
However, this is where the 2020 Whole Body Donor Day took a new path from previous years. In the past, we had sent our memorial wreath out to float at Depot Bay, where we also perform our scatterings at sea. This year, we decided to float our wreath a little closer to home so that we could live stream the event for all of our donor families to watch.
On the morning of October 27th, our Education Directors, Luke Zabel and Emily Jeziorski, made their way to Thunder Island in the Columbia River Cascade Locks region to send off our memorial wreath. Emily and Luke had some words prepared for the event, which was live streamed on our Facebook event page. Included in the ceremony was a special poem, “An Unconventional Afterlife”, which was written by a medical student in honor of the whole body donors that aided in her medical education;
"An Unconventional Afterlife"
Once bright, colored, and flowing,
Now stagnant, cold and grey.
Your memory lingers.
An enlightened path remains.
The inner-workings of life revealed,
Like a new book carefully opened.
My heart races as I lean in–
A mind is forever changed over a body broken.
Several years go by,
It is now clear how a single choice saved lives
A once-glowing flame long extinguished,
Yet its light is never diminished.
Once the reading was complete, Luke and Emily asked everyone to join them in a moment of silence in honor of all who had been lost but chose to give the world a final gift to help advance medical science. Afterwards, Luke laid the memorial wreath into the waters of the Columbia River. You can watch the entire ceremony in the video below.
Looking Towards the Future
Again, we cannot thank you all enough for participating in this year’s Whole Body Donor Day. From the people who watched the event live, the donor families that shared their loved one’s stories with us, and the end-of-life care professionals that helped us spread the word about the event, we are truly humbled by all of your support.
And, we look forward to doing it all again next year! We hope that our annual tradition continues to grow and provide additional solace to all of our donor families as they find a new occasion to celebrate the lives of their loved ones.