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Organ Donors Honored at Hoag's Tree of Life Ceremony

John "David" Meyer honored on the Tree of Life memorial. (Photo courtesy Hoag Hospital)
John "David" Meyer honored on the Tree of Life memorial. (Photo courtesy Hoag Hospital)
Families of organ donors were honored last week at Hoag Hospital with a special gift bearing the name of their loved ones in memory of their sacred last contribution to the world.

Hoag's Tree of Life memorial was held on Thursday, among the attendees were April Negrete, of Costa Mesa, wife of kidney donor Steven Kilgo, who saved two lives. Organ recipient Stephanie McMackin was also at the memorial.

As a way to honor the sacred gift of donating an organ in order to extend someone else's life, the families of recent Hoag organ donors were presented with a certificate and a replica of a leaf bearing the name of their loved one on the Tree of Life, a metal sculpture created by local artist Tova Rotlevy Cohen.

Hoag installed the Tree of Life in 2011 to provide a place for families to visit and reflect on the gift their loved ones gave, and to inspire others to become donors.

At the memorial families also had the chance to handwrite personal messages and dedications to their loved ones onto a rose that will be incorporated into the Donate Life float during the 125th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.

According to Hoag officials, the hospital has a long-standing commitment to saving lives through organ and tissue donation. Between 2006 and 2012, it had 38 consented organ donors.
 
The Tree of Life memorial was co-hosted by Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian and the organ and tissue recovery organization, OneLegacy.

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