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Life and Legacy Celebrations

Each year, Gift of Life Donor Program invites families of organ and tissue donors to attend Life and Legacy Celebrations to honor their lives and their choice to be a donor.

The Gift of Life Donor Medal is a remembrance for those who helped improve the lives of others through organ, eye or tissue donation.

The Gift of Life Donor Medal is a remembrance for those who helped improve the lives of others through organ, eye or tissue donation.

Each year Gift of Life Donor Program hosts Life and Legacy Celebrations in recognition of the generous organ, tissue and cornea donors from our region.  The intent of this ceremony is to honor and remember your loved one and the decision to give the gift of life to others in need.

This year, donor families have the option to attend a ceremony in person at one of three locations or virtually online from your home.

During the ceremony, you will have the opportunity to hear from donor families and transplant recipients from across our region who will share their personal stories. You will be presented with our Gift of Life Donor Medal, which recognizes the heroic donors who save lives. Families who choose the virtual option will receive a donor recognition package including the Donor Medal, donor family lapel pins and a special candle so that they may participate in the ceremony from home. Those who attend an in-person ceremony will be invited to join us for light refreshments at the conclusion of the ceremony.

All families are encouraged to create a quilt square in memory of their loved one.  These individual squares are assembled into our Threads of Love Memorial Quilts, which are displayed at events throughout our region to highlight the importance of organ and tissue donation and to commemorate the heroes who make it possible. Families who bring a quilt square to an in-person ceremony will be able to pin it on a quilt prior to the program. Families who join us virtually may mail their quilt square to us.   Information about creating a quilt square is included with this invitation.

During the Life and Legacy Celebration, we will show a special photographic presentation honoring those who gave the gift of life through organ, tissue and cornea donation.  If you would like your loved one to be recognized during this portion of the program, you can upload a photo with your online registration.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you received an invitation to the 2023 Life and Legacy Celebration and have some questions about the virtual event, you are not alone. Please find answers to some frequently asked questions below or contact Family Support Services.


Do I have to pay to attend? No. There is no cost to participate in the in-person or virtual ceremony.

How long does the ceremony last? The in-person ceremonies typically last 90 minutes. We expect the virtual ceremony to last about 30-45 minutes.

Who should attend? Due to capacity limitations, the in-person ceremonies are intended for immediate and close family members.   The virtual ceremony does not have any limits.  Anyone you desire to watch the virtual ceremony is invited. You can share the link with those who are not in the same household if you desire.

Will my loved one’s recipient(s) be at the in-person ceremony or featured in the virtual ceremony? The transplant recipients featured are active volunteers who have chosen to participate as a way to say thank you to donor families. Most of these volunteers received their transplants several years ago. Your loved one’s recipients will not be identified at the ceremony.

If I don’t participate in either ceremony, will I still receive the medal? Yes. When you register that you cannot attend, there is an option to request to have the medal sent to your home. You must register in order for us to mail you the medal. If you cannot attend the ceremony this year, you can also indicate that you would like to receive an invitation for next year’s ceremony.

Photographic Tribute

What kind of photograph should I submit for the photographic tribute? It is best to submit a clear picture that features your loved one’s face prominently. You can send a favorite picture (it doesn’t need to be the most current).  It is possible that the picture will be cropped to highlight the donor’s face, so the photo may look different during the tribute.  Photographs that are at least 4×6 will work best.  Please note that if more than one family member submits a photograph for the same donor, we will select the photograph that will appear the best in the program. 

How do I send the photograph?  When you register, you will have the opportunity to upload a photograph.    Your photograph should be in a high resolution format (at least 300 dpi). Otherwise, the photo may appear blurry. Do not send photocopies of pictures or pictures of pictures because they will not show up well for the tribute.

If you are unable to upload a photograph to us, please call Gift of Life’s Family Support Services Department to discuss an alternate option at 800-366-6771.

Do I have to contribute a photo? No. Some families decide they are not ready to take part in the photo tribute.

If we choose not to participate, can a photograph of my loved one still be included in the ceremony? Absolutely. You can submit your photograph by emailing us at family2@donors1.org.

What are these words we are asked to share? During the photographic tribute, we would also like to share descriptive words about your loved one so we can all learn more about them.  Feel free to share up to 5 words or phrases that you feel best describe your loved one.  Some examples include: father, grandmother, Phillies fan, animal-lover, funny. You can share these words even if you don’t submit a photograph. Please note that if more than one family member submits words, we may combine the submissions. 

Threads of Love Memorial Quilt

What is the Threads of Love Memorial Quilt?  This is a collection of quilt squares made my donor families in memory of ther family member who gave the gift of life.  They are displayed throughout our region, in our buildings and several hospitals. We also have all of the quilt squares on our website. You can view them here.

What are the specifications for making a quilt square? Quilt squares can made with a variety of fabrics and adornments. We do have a size requirement and other recommendations. Please visit here to learn more.

How do I submit a quilt square? Families attending an in-person ceremony can bring their square with them. For those who are participating in the virtual ceremony, you can mail your quilt square to Gift of Life Donor Program.  Please be sure to submit the required form prior to mailing in your square.  You can complete the form here.  Mail your quilt square to:

Gift of Life Donor Program

Attn: Family Support Services

401 N. 3rd Street

Philadelphia, PA 19123