Ceremony Honors Southern Arizona Organ Donors

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The families of Southern Arizonans who donated organs or tissue over the past four years will join Banner – University Medical Center physicians, staff and transplant recipients to remember and honor their loved ones at a tribute ceremony Sunday afternoon.

The 12th Annual Organ Donor Family Tribute Ceremony will be held 2-4 p.m. April 23 in Kiewit Auditorium at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, adjacent to Banner – UMC, 1515 N. Campbell Ave. At least 100 people are expected. The event is presented in partnership with the Donor Network of Arizona.

Organ donation makes life-changing organ transplants possible but it usually occurs at a desperate time for families, when they have just lost a loved one. Many families find comfort knowing their loved one’s donated organs keep others alive, and this ceremony is one way for them to honor that Gift of Life.

This year’s program includes harp music and remarks by kidney-and-organ-transplant recipient Stella Garcia, Banner – UMC transplant surgeon Robert Harland, MD, and others.

Each donor family will be presented a Ben’s Bell by Jeannette Maré, executive director of the Ben’s Bells Project, and invited to say a few words about their loved one. The ceremony will culminate with the release of white doves.

April is National Donate Life Month, a time to celebrate the renewed health of organ and tissue recipients while honoring the selfless gifts of donors and their families.

More than 2,300 Arizonans are on waiting lists for organ transplants. Most are waiting for kidneys. Arizonans can register as organ donors when they apply for or renew their driver’s license, or they can register online at

Assignment Editors Please Note: Media are welcome to cover this invitation-only ceremony. Event organizers Kim Hilty, RN, of Banner – UMC, or Brianne Snyder of the Donor Network of Arizona, will be available to assist with family interviews at the ceremony.

About Banner – University Medical Center

Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center South are part of Banner – University Medicine, a premier academic medical network. These institutions are academic medical centers for the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Included on the two campuses are Diamond Children's Medical Center and many clinics. The two academic medical centers are part of Arizona-based Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.

About Donor Network of Arizona

Donor Network of Arizona (DNA) saves and heals lives as Arizona’s federally designated, nonprofit organ procurement organization. DNA facilitates the transplantation of organs, tissue and corneas.

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