From the left: Steve Crossman, kidney transplant recipient; Shirley Bruce, the garden designer; Karen Fontaine pancreas/kidney transplant recipient; and Rachael Brown from Trail Community in Bloom. (Submitted photo)

Gratitude Garden invites Trail community to spread kindness

The garden is located on the highway at Shaver’s Bench

In a show of appreciation for all the transplant staff who dedicate themselves everyday to this highly specialized branch of health care – two Trail transplant recipients have created a thoughtful feature for the entire community to enjoy.

Read more: Trail Kidney Walk followed by rafting trip

A Gratitude Garden was planted along the highway at Shaver’s Bench by Karen Fontaine and Steve Crossman during Transplant Heroes Week, along with helping hands from a crew of volunteers.

“Transplant Heroes Week is an opportunity to thank all the B.C. healthcare professionals who provide such excellent care to transplant recipients all year long,” Fontaine told the Trail Times.

“During this week, Steve and myself, both transplant recipients, and any living donors and donor families usually deliver treats in-person to transplant clinic staff,” she explained.

“This year, we are taking a new direction in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and respecting public health guidelines for physical distancing and keeping our immunocompromised community safe and healthy.”

Instead of face-to-face thank you’s with the delivery of treats to medical centres, in late May, teams of transplant recipients, living donors and donor families created Gratitude Gardens in several communities across the province, similar to the one in Trail.

Protocols to prevent the transmission of coronavirus, including social distancing, were followed for the planting.

“This is the Gratitude Garden for Trail,” Fontaine said.

“Anyone that has had a transplant, or anyone that has a family or friend that has a donated organ, is welcome to place a rock in the garden.”

Fontaine thanks all those in the community who helped with the Gratitude Garden including Korpack for supplying the rocks, Sandra Olson and Jo Dimock for painting many of the rocks, Shirley Bruce for the design, and Dawn Bruce for all the digging.

“We hope that anyone who walks by will be uplifted by these positive messages of thanks and spread kindness,” Fontaine shared.

BC Transplant oversees all aspects of organ donation and transplant across British Columbia and manages the B.C. Organ Donor Registry.

The organization also manages several programs and campaigns to help raise awareness for the need and importance of organ donation.

Every year, dozens of patients die waiting for organ transplants in British Columbia. And while 90 per cent of people in B.C. agree with organ donation, BC Transplant says only about 28 per cent register their decision.

Raising awareness and sharing information about the need for organs is one way to help ensure people get the life-saving transplants they need.

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The garden is planted near the Highway 3B lights in Shaver’s Bench. (Submitted photo)

Locals are invited to place a rock in the garden sharing a positive message. (Submitted photo)

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