The front of The Loretto Hospital has a new face—a colorful, large mural honoring the gift of organ and tissue donation.
The mural, titled Hope and Life for Everyone, was created by Chicago artist Mauricio Ramirez and was unveiled at a special ceremony on Thursday, June 27. The artwork will hopefully serve as a reminder of the importance of organ donation to all who view it.
George N. Miller Jr., the president and CEO of The Loretto Hospital, said bringing the mural to a community like Austin helps send the message loud and clear that organ and tissue donation is not bound by one’s color, ethnicity or economic status.
“This mural is our way of reminding the community that health care is about saving lives and they too can save a life by becoming an organ donor,” Miller said.
The mural features a man and woman who represent the diversity of organ and tissue donors and recipients. The two face each other and are connected through a heart that symbolizes the donation. The mural also features an hourglass that symbolizes those waiting for life-saving transplants as well as the additional time gained by recipients of donors. A butterfly floats at the bottom of the bright and colorful mural and symbolizes endurance, change, hope and life. The word “hope” is prominently featured across the mural that fills the wall at the hospital and will be easily visible from Interstate 290.
“Butterflies are a powerful representation of resurrection and life,” Miller added. “This symbol not only conveys our mission of bringing hope and healing to the communities served by us, but it speaks truth to power about disparities in health care and how organ and tissue donation bridges all cultures together and saves lives.”
The mural was commissioned by both Gift of Hope, a not-for-profit organ procurement organization that works with donor family services, and The Loretto Hospital, the largest non-governmental employer in the Austin community.
“The shortage of organ and tissue donors remains critical,” said Kevin Cmunt, President and CEO for Gift of Hope. “We are truly honored to partner with The Loretto Hospital and George Miller to create this stunning work of art to remind the community how donation benefits every family and to inspire the community to register to become organ and tissue donors.”
At the dedication ceremony, Tarcia Patton shared how her son Jermaine Cullum saved the lives of three people through organ donation in 2014, and Pastor Joseph Kyles of Promise Church, a double lung recipient himself, prayed before the unveiling.
Organ donations “absolutely change lives,” Kyles said. “I can prove that it is worth it.”
Alderman Chris Taliaferro (29thWard) and State Representative Camille Lilly (D-78thDistrict) also shared words of hope and encouragement around the mural and the lives organ donors can impact.
Statistics show that blacks are the largest minority group in need of organ transplants, making up nearly 30 percent of people waiting for an organ donation. To find out how you can become an organ and/or tissue donor visit www.giftofhope.org.