Grieving families whose loved ones helped save the lives of others by donating their organs now have a special place to remember them after the unveiling of a stunning sculpture. It is hoped the Beyond Ithaka bespoke installation at Trentham Gardens will also raise awareness of the difference organ donation can make.
The unveiling of the impressive artwork was broadcast on BBC’s The One Show last night, where over 200 people were seen at the unveiling. It comes as nationally there are around 7,000 people on the UK transplant waiting list – while more than 470 died last year while waiting for an organ.
The sculpture is a figure of mother nature made of thousands of meters of stainless steel wire, surrounded by 400 sheets of copper forming a heart shape. It is set in a stone already in the garden. Creator Robin Wight says the creation, which took over three months to put together, is full of symbolism with the idea of ”something beautiful growing from the remnants of the past”.
Among those at last night’s unveiling was Vicky Scott, whose son Shane Dineen died last year after collapsing in his Bentilee home and suffering a fatal brain haemorrhage. As reported by StokeonTrentLive by the time the 20-year-old art student had completed his studies at Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and completed his first term at Staffordshire University when tragedy struck.
Vicky told the show: “He was the most caring teenager. He had a wonderful sense of humor.
“As soon as I saw him I knew he was gone. So we were approached by the nurses. I didn’t have to think twice. Yes, let’s give someone else the hope that can change his life, even if my life was falling apart. me.”
By donating his organs, Shane has helped save the lives of five critically ill patients. Upon seeing the sculpture, Vicky described it as “absolutely stunning”. She added: “It will be a wonderful place where we can sit and remember that Shane is giving others this second chance at life.”
Also featured on last night’s show was Greg Peters, whose girlfriend Anna Ledgar died after being involved in a collision between Rocester and Uttoxeter on October 18 last year. Greg told the show: “She had a brain injury but her organs were fine. She helped six people, including a little boy, which was pretty special. It’s not just about donating an organ. To the end of the day, you’re giving someone a chance to live. It would be nice to come here and remember.
Seeing the sculpture, he said, “It’s beautiful, it’s peaceful. You could spend hours here. I’m really proud of Anna and everyone here.”
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) nurse specialists – based at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) – helped organize the event and were on hand throughout the day to support families.
Kirsty Lazenby is an organ donation and transplantation nurse with the Royal Stoke University Hospital team. She said: “Because of Covid, a lot of families didn’t have the opportunity to be together when their loved ones died, so it really gave them their first chance to properly grieve together.
“Every single person who has become a donor has died in sudden and/or traumatic events, so it was very difficult for people, but each of our donor families are amazing.
“The event was extremely emotional for the family members and for us. We believe this sculpture will provide a beautiful and dignified place for people to remember loved ones who have donated or received an organ. We also want to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and we think this will be a great conversation starter. Since April 2021, 3,121 people have received a transplant. It really highlights the need for people to sign up.
The sculpture will be a permanent fixture in Trentham. Kirsty added: “A hospital isn’t always the most appropriate place to have something like this because being there can bring back very painful memories for people, so we were absolutely delighted when the Trentham team agreed to work with us.”
Artist Robin has already created Trentham’s stunning ‘fairy sculptures’. He said: “When asked if I would consider commissioning a sculpture for the NHS, I was doubly honored and delighted. To be asked in the first place is a great compliment, and we all owe the NHS a debt of gratitude and our full I was a little nervous about the project, but only because I want it to have the desired impact in raising awareness for such a worthy cause.
Alastair Budd, Trentham manager, said: “Trentham holds special memories for many and its beautiful and peaceful grounds make it an ideal place to reflect and remember loved ones.
“Robin’s work is truly spectacular and we are very proud to have partnered with the Royal Stoke University Hospital to create a meaningful memorial for the loved ones of organ donors, as well as creating an important talking point for all of our visitors. “
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