Helen Thompson has hailed the unveiling of a new artwork which celebrates the gift of organ donation.

Her daughter, Skye Thompson passed away aged 17, almost three years ago due to a carotid artery thrombosis which caused a massive stroke.

As her next of kin, Helen made the brave decision to donate Skye’s organs, and says the installation, called ‘Thank you for life’, will celebrate the gift of life Skye made to many people.

There is no greater gift than your children. For me this memorial means a lot.

Helen, who works as a Clinical Support Worker for Respiratory Outpatients at the Northern General Hospital, said: “Skye wasn’t replying to my texts or calls one morning. I thought it strange, so after her boyfriend wasn’t having any luck either I went home to check.

“I found her unconscious and fitting on the bathroom floor. She was rushed by ambulance to A&E where she was put in an induced coma. She had swelling on her brain and later it was found that she had no brain activity. She passed away that night.

“I was asked about organ donation, so I spoke to my mum about it. We knew it would be something she wanted to do, so we agreed. In my job I see people who are waiting for transplants and I have seen what transplants do and how they change lives.

“There is no greater gift than your children. For me this memorial means a lot. When I look at it I will always remember that some people are living when my daughter is sadly no longer here.”

The gift of life

'Thank you for life’, which has been designed by artist Stella Corrall, embraces the varying aspects of organ donation, from those in need, those wishing to give and those who have had lives transformed. All of these aspects overlap into one another and the intersecting circles of the design embrace this with each one acknowledging heartfelt words.

The Organ Donation Team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals hope the piece will raise awareness of organ donation, themed around the concept of the ‘gift of life’, and think about their end of life wishes.

Clare Croxall, Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation, said:The need for organ donation memorials is documented in a report published by the Department of Health.

“The report states that appropriate ways should be identified of personally and publicly recognising individual organ donors, which may include national memorials, local initiatives and personal follow-up to donor families.

“Therefore we have been working hard with our Arts in Health team to establish a fitting memorial here in Sheffield. We are thrilled with the final artwork which is a beautiful and colourful installation to recognise, remember and reflect on a donor’s brave and generous gift.

“In the 2017-2018 financial year, 36 families across the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals agreed to organ donation whilst facing the loss of a loved one. This meant 100 organs were donated from our hospitals, more than ever before. This makes it a fitting time to reflect upon the special gift organ donors and their families give”

The artwork, which was £5,000 and funded by Sheffield Hospitals Charity, is wall mounted at Chesterman entrance at the Northern General Hospital.

It was unveiled at a special event to coincide with Organ Donation Week, which saw the families and friends of organ donors gather for refreshments and an order of service by the hospital chaplain.

Sheffield Hospitals Charity provides more than £30,000 every year to the charity funded Arts in Health team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

To donate funds for Arts in Health initiatives click here.

To sign up to be an organ donor, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk