This year’s Donor Family Event took place on Sunday, April 23 at Avery Ranch Golf Club. The theme of the event was Thread of Life: Honoring Those Who Connect Us, and it represented a celebration of the connections of the human family, which was a beautiful and tender gesture to show how we are all connected in more ways than we know.
The event started with Gavin and Keri Taylor, the children of UTR donor John Taylor, sharing their experiences with donation and the impact that donation had on their lives and the lives of recipients, people directly impacted. Their father, John Taylor, was honored on the Donate Life Rose Parade float this year, where a floral portrait of him was featured alongside other organ, eye, and tissue donors.
John Taylor’s tissue donation has resulted in the creation and transplant of 66 tissue grafts so far. This includes bone and connective tissue grafts, skin grafts, abdominal and urogynecology repairs, sports repairs, and so much more. His gift is one of generosity and it has touched so many lives.
Gavin Taylor now advocates for donation in Houston through Donate Life Texas; Keri Taylor also advocates for donation through Life Link Puerto Rico.
During the event six families honored their loved ones with quilt squares, completing the third Donor Family quilt.
Gifts of remembrance were given to families during the event. They received small string art hearts. They also got to complete a large-scale representation of the Thread of Life theme, as a demonstration of the unique connections created by the donation community.
Families and Family Service Coordinators had the chance to meet in-person for the first time. Not only were Donor Families honored with tributes and gifts, they received statements from tissue donation recipients about the impact their loved one had on their lives.
One recipient writes, “Since my surgery I have been able to slowly reclaim my life, and every day that I am able to run down by the river, I think of the person that shared their gift with me and imagine that in some way I am running with them.”
Sponsors Xtant Medical and Lifenet Health helped coordinate the event—we couldn’t have done it without them. It was a touching and memorable tribute to all those involved in the donation community. The Thread of Life event was a success and we are preparing for another meaningful event next year!