Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness


2017 Global Organ Donor Commemorative Event


The first ever global event honouring organ donors took place in cities across the world on 30th November, 2017. This Irish-led commemorative initiative involved stone sculpted candles, gifted by Irish cities, Galway, Derry, and Belfast being unveiled in Cape Town, Melbourne and Boston, and a similar event was held on the 16th November in Spain when a Dublin-gifted commemorative plaque was unveiled in Barcelona.

Three simultaneously scheduled events took place on the same day, 30th November, in Belfast, Derry and at the Circle of Life Commemorative Garden in Galway as part of this Irish-led global initiative.

The purpose of the project is to give expression on a world stage to society's appreciation and gratitude for the life-giving gift made possible through organ donors and their families.  It will also help promote the cause of organ donation and transplantation globally.

The project was initiated by Strange Boat Donor Foundation in association with Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI).

Links to podcasts of media coverage of the event in the various cities:



Cape Town:

Ireland:                                           View on 30t November, at 15.50 minutes                         Listen at 1 hour 30 mins                                                                         Listen at 51mins to 56mins                                                                                Listen at 1hr 20mins to 1hr 26mins…/life-candle-sculpture-commemor…/


City to City gifting

This  all-Ireland project, reflecting international outreach, cooperation and friendship, involved some of its principal cities, Dublin, Galway, Belfast and Derry gifting the commemorative sculpture to Barcelona, Cape Town,  Boston and Melbourne, respectively.


Read more: City to City gifting


Candle Sculpture

The commemorative sculptures are each a 5.5" tall (1,650mm) carved replica of the stone sculpted candle in the Circle of Life Irish National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden in Galway.

Read more: Candle Sculpture


Event date

The date chosen for the global event was designed to avail of the historic opportunity of marking one of the milestones in organ donation transplantation; the world's first heart transplant by Dr. Christiaan Barnard at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town in 1967.  

Read more: Event date


Project Operation & Timeline

The sculpted candles and narrative plaques were created at the Galway Salvage Gallery.


Read more: Project Operation & Timeline

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