Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness


Gift of Life Candle in Botanic Gardens

A replica of the Gift of Life Candle from the Circle of Life Garden in Salthill was unveiled (Wednesday, 15th June) in the Botanic Gardens in Belfast, commemorating all of those who have given the gift of life through organ donation.

The candle sculpture was gifted to the City of Belfast and the organ donation community by Galway Civic Trust - Dúchas na Gaillimhe on behalf of the City of Galway, highlighting the strong cross border links in increasing awareness of organ donation. 

Situated against the backdrop of the Botanic Garden's herbaceous border, the sculpture was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Ald. Brian Kingston alongside his civic counterpart the Mayor of Galway, Cllr. Noel Larkin. 
The ceremony was attended by representatives of the organ donation community and medical profession from both north and south, members of both City councils, Galway Civic Trust and many other guests.

Speaking at the event Alderman Kingston said:  "There is no greater gift to give than the gift of life.  Organ donation ultimately saves lives and the unveiling of this sculpture allows us to raise awareness of the process, hopefully encouraging more people to sign up to become organ donors".   He added: "The piece itself is brilliantly crafted and the fact that it takes residence so centrally in our city shows the significance and importance given to the issue of organ donation".

The Candle was commissioned by the organ donation community in Northern Ireland from Strange Boat Donor Foundation which created the Circle of Life National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden located in Salthill, Galway.

Speaking on behalf of Galway Civic Trust - Dúchas na Gaillimhe and Galway City Council, Mayor Larkin said: "Galway is already a very popular destination for visitors from Northern Ireland and given this new civic dimension and connection between Galway and Belfast there is huge potential to further connectivity and goodwill from a North/South perspective".

Dr. Alan Gaffney, Clinical Lead specialising in organ donation at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, was also resent at the event representing Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland.  He said: "We have world class transplant centres in Dublin and Belfast, with highly skilled medical teams and excellent patient outcomes. It is recognised that be cooperating and sharing healthcare resources and skills we can work together to benefit more patients across our Island. Today's unveiling and gesture of friendship is a wonderful opportunity to cement relationships and to work in solidarity for one cause on behalf of all the people of Ireland".
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