Families and staff gathered today (11 December) at Prince Charles Hospital Merthyr Tydfil to unveil a memorial plaque dedicated to organ donors and their families. The plaque, similar to the one placed at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, was designed by Alexis Ward, the daughter-in-law of Paul Ward who worked as an Operating Department Practitioner at the hospital and donated his organs eight years ago.
The Welsh slate plaque is designed with a Celtic heart which Alexis used as a symbol of love with the inscription ‘in giving we receive’. The plaque will be placed in the main outpatients area at Prince Charles Hospital as a poignant memorial to the contribution donors have made across the Cwm Taf area.
To complement the plaque there will be a wall of remembrance in the same design placed in the hospital chapel. This will be a permanent feature and will give families of organ donors, transplant recipients and others whose lives have been touched by donation, an opportunity to write personalised messages to their loved one.
Paul Ward’s wife Odette, who has been an active supporter of organ donation said: “The decision to donate your loved ones’ organs for some can be a difficult thing to do. But the fact that another person has been given the gift of life can, and does, give you an immense sense of peace and happiness. For recipients and their families it’s a new start, for the family of the donors it’s the end. This plaque is a wonderful recognition of the gift which has been given and the peace which is to come. We can never start a new beginning, but what our loved ones have allowed others to do, is create a new end, and that is something we should be proud of.”
Mr Kamal Asaad, Medical Director for Cwm Taf University Health Board said: “The plaque is a wonderful tribute to donors and their families both in terms of recognition for their selfless act of donating their organs and giving others the gift of life.
“At this very difficult and sad time families find the strength to make the decision to give another person, another family, a chance to live their lives, this is remarkable.”