flagsGiving the gift of life is one of the most selfless legacies a person can leave behind. CDT works with our hospital partners, incredible hospital staff and brave donor families to honor those who made the decision to say “yes” to organ donation in many ways, but one of the most visible ways is by participating in the Donate Life Flag Program.

Hospitals participating in the flag program fly a Donate Life Flag after either an organ or a tissue donor has been facilitated at the hospital. The flag flies for a week, alerting community members and hospital staff of the important, lifesaving gift that was given at this particular hospital. It is a meaningful reminder of the role that everyone plays in helping to make the gift of life possible.

In addition to raising the flag and flying it for a week, sometimes participating hospitals will also work with CDT and the donor family to conduct a more formal flag raising ceremony. Family, friends and community members of the donor are invited to attend the ceremony. Oftentimes, someone from the hospital’s pastoral care department or the family’s designated faith leader will say a few words. Staff from the hospital and from CDT may also share a few words to honor the legacy of the donor and the strength of the donor family. The ceremonies also allow families the opportunity to check in with many of the members of the healthcare team that were caring for their loved one prior to and during the donation process. After the flag has been flown, the hospital mails it back to CDT. After preparing the flag, we mail it on to the donor family to keep.

Participating hospitals and other community organizations may also fly the flag during Donate Life Month to help celebrate Donate Life Month in April. We have seen Donate Life flags flying at town halls, high schools, colleges and community centers to help raise awareness about donation. It is a fun, easy and cost-effective way to start the conversation about donation and increase visibility of the lifesaving power one person can have by registering on the New York State Donate Life Registry! If you’re interested in flying a Donate Life flag for Donate Life Month, for a transplant or donation anniversary, or just to help raise awareness on an ongoing basis, please email info@cdtny.org. We’d be happy to send you one (as long as you send us a picture back of the flag in action)!