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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.

Once a year, Gift of Life Donor Program hosts a Life and Legacy Celebration 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.

Typically these ceremonies are held in person but to protect the health and safety of our community, we have made the decision to hold this important ceremony virtually in 2021.

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 connections to donation.  A key component of our ceremony is the presentation of the Gift of Life Donor Medal which was designed to recognize the heroic donors who make saving lives possible.  All families who participate in this virtual commeration will receive a special donor recognition package in advance of the event. This package will include the Donor Medal, coordinating lapel pins, and a special candle so that families may join along from the safety of their home.

During the Life and Legacy Celebration, we will show a special photographic presentation honoring those who gave thhe 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 2021 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 virtual ceremony.

How long does the ceremony last? We expect the virtual ceremony to last about 45-60 minutes.

Who should attend? Family members and close friends of the family or loved one are all welcome to participate in the virtual ceremony. You can share the link with those who are not in the same household if you desire.

How many people will get the special donor recognition package?   In order to ensure we have enough for each donor being recognized, we will send one package to the member of the family who registered for the ceremony.  It is important we receive the registration by the deadline of November 15 so we have enough time to mail the package to your home.

Will my loved one’s recipient(s) be 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 the virtual 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? 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

Donor Family Sharing Sessions

What are the Donor Family Sharing Sessions? Since we are unable to meet in person, we are offering families five opportunities to meet with one of our Family Support Services counselors live via Zoom with other families.

What will happen during these sharing sessions? These one-hour sessions will allow families to meet each other and our Family Support Services staff.  If you have questions about how to write to the recipients or want to know about ways to get involved with Gift of Life, these sessions will be an opportunity for you to learn about these things and more.  It is also a time for families to share a little bit about their loved one, if they feel comfortable doing so.

How do I sign up for the sharing session? Please visit here to sign up for one of the 5 sessions.  We will host them on Saturday, December 4 from 6-7pm, Monday, December 6 from 12-1pm, Tuesday, December 7 from 6-7pm, Wednesday, December 8 from 12-1pm and Thursday, December 9 from 6-7pm.