DonateLife WA Honour Ceremony at City Beach on Sunday 6 March 2016

After more than 15 years at Lake Monger, the annual ceremony to honour organ and tissue donors and their families upped anchor and moved to its new site at City Beach on Sunday 6 March for a sunset ceremony. 

Some 600 donor family members and friends found their way to the new beachfront location, on the grassed area between the recently‐constructed surf club and Clancy’s fish bar. Many picnicked before the ceremony or visited the nearby cafes.

The change of site was for a number of reasons: although the Lake Monger site is beautiful, there are few facilities in the vicinity. There is also a significant midge problem at night that made last year’s ceremony very difficult for those standing under lights, trying to sing or MC!

DonateLife was very pleased when last year the Town of Cambridge, which had hosted the old site and supported DonateLife throughout the years, agreed to transfer the ceremony to the brand new
beachfront redevelopment at City Beach. 

Mayor Keri Shannon spoke at the ceremony about the move to City Beach and said she hoped that donor families would find tranquillity in the beach setting when remembering a loved one. 

The 2016 Honour Ceremony was a departure from previous ceremonies in that the plaques were not in the vicinity. They remain at Lake Monger while a decision is being made about their future. Instead of the traditional brass plaques featuring the names of donors from 2015, the names and many photos were projected during the ceremony. The names of donors prior to 2015 were projected before the ceremony.

The ceremony included two recipients ‐ one a young woman with a transplanted set of lungs and a new life, the other with a properly‐working replacement kidney (and a baby on the way). Representing donor families was a father who set aside his grief to talk about the reasons why he chose to donate his young son’s organs and tissues.

At the conclusion, the Master of Ceremonies, Graham Mabury, read a poem by a donor mother, Sherri Topple, about her son who was killed at his work as a reservist. Sherri says, “We were discussing donation. Brad said he would absolutely want to be a donor. He turned to me, gestured to his body and, with that easy smile of his said, ‘Mom, it’s only a rental’.”

The ceremony finished just after 8.00pm and evaluation forms were collected as the audience left. The consensus after tabling the feedback was that of the 58 people who gave feedback, 57 approved
of the new location.

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