Located at United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the National Donor Memorial honors America’s organ and tissue donors. Learn more >>
Funded entirely by private contributions, the 10,000-square-foot memorial garden was designed by a volunteer committee of donor family members, living donors and transplant recipients from across the country.
The memorial symbolizes the emotional journey experienced by donor families during the donation process. It's a journey of hope, renewal and transformation.
A family's loss marks the beginning of the journey. At the memorial entrance, water flowing over the words, "friend, wife, son, daughter, mother, sister, husband, brother, father," symbolizes tears shed by donor families.
"We thought that despite the tragedy that had befallen all of us, someone else out there could be helped."
Family of organ donor
The central room of the garden contains names of donors, representing the diversity of America's donors. These named individuals share one special common thread—their generous gift made new life possible for thousands of children and adults. Without them, organ transplantation would not be possible.
The words, "Hope, Renewal, Transformation," are emblazoned on a bronze medallion on the granite wall. These words, specifically chosen by the committee that created the memorial, are unique to the organ donation process and have special meaning to both recipients and donors.
The National Donor Memorial Web site houses a collection of tributes to organ donors.
To create a tribute, join the Tribute Community now >>
“Light and openness” describe the portion of the memorial containing plants to attract butterflies, symbolizing renewal of life through transplantation.
The evergreen bamboo and “Gift of Life” roses border the lawn.
“While we don’t understand why she was taken from us now, we know that Carrie’s purpose on this earth was to give life…to her son, through her profession, and in her death, through organ donation.”
Sister of organ donor
A row of holly trees leads to the source of water flowing through the memorial. The ripples of water in a fountain, symbolizing the donors’ generosity, have far-reaching effects. This illustrates that the gift of organ donation does not end with an individual recipients.
“Who knows what the ripple effects will be. So many people have been touched by these events and our baby boy. Parents have hugged their kids more; medical staffs have found a renewed sense of purpose and I have been deeply and profoundly changed.”
Mother of organ donor