JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs

November 30, 2001
MEDIA CONTACT: Karen Blum- -Johns Hopkins
PHONE: 410-955-1534
E-MAIL: kblum@jhmi.edu

MEDIA CONTACT:Margaret Cellucci- -Transplant Resource Center of Maryland
PHONE: 410-242-7000, ext. 3023
E-MAIL: mcellucci@mdtransplant.org

Hopkins, Transplant Resource Center Honor Families of Organ & Tissue Donors

Memorial Wall to be Dedicated at The Johns Hopkins Hospital Dec. 3

Robert Vernon Watts wanted to be an organ donor. But when he died Aug. 23, 1999, he didn't meet the criteria. His parents, Thomas and Dottie Watts, arranged to donate his tissues but also wanted to provide a second enduring gift. They approached the Organ Donor Council at Johns Hopkins and Jane Knapp, Hopkins' former organ donor advocate, about creating a permanent memorial wall to honor all organ and tissue donors.

Thomas Watts and members of other organ and tissue donor and recipient families will speak at the formal dedication ceremony of the aluminum wall sculpture Monday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. Media are invited. The event will be held at the wall, which hangs in the hallway to the right of the Hospital's Wolfe Street entrance.

Others scheduled to speak are Alice Walston, an administrative assistant at Hopkins' Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, whose husband, Garry, died March 5, 2000, and Phyllis Burnside, who received a heart transplant on April 29, 1995. Garry Walston had worked in the Hospital's maintenance department.

Remarks also will be made by Ronald Peterson, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System; the Rev. Rosemary Lillis, Hopkins' program coordinator for organ and tissue donation; Pamela Lipsett, M.D., chairperson of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Donor Council; the Rev. Stephen Mann, director of the Department of Pastoral Care; Marion Borowiecki, CEO of the Transplant Resource Center of Maryland; and Robert McEwan, administrative director of The Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center.

The 4.5 x 10 foot wall, featuring a green and black silkscreened floral design, has 400 spaces to engrave the names of those who became organ and tissue donors at Johns Hopkins after death. As with the Vietnam War memorial wall in Washington, D.C., families will be able to touch the names of their loved ones, Lillis says. So far, 43 names of individuals who donated between 1996 to 2001 have been engraved.

"We would be honored to include the names of other donors from those who died at The Johns Hopkins Hospital if asked to do so and will continue to contact other donor families for permission," Lillis says. There is no cost to families to have a name listed or donate organs and tissues.

The $21,000 artwork was designed by King Products Inc. of Ontario, Canada, and commissioned by The Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center, the Johns Hopkins Department of Surgery and the Transplant Resource Center of Maryland.

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