November 30, 2001
MEDIA CONTACT: Karen Blum- -Johns Hopkins
MEDIA CONTACT:Margaret Cellucci- -Transplant
Resource Center of Maryland
PHONE: 410-242-7000, ext. 3023
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
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.