The term pin-up calendar takes on a whole new meaning when in reference to LifeLink Foundation’s annual Faces of Transplantation calendar. Instead of beefcakes and bikinis, every month of 2016 will feature both a feast for the eyes – images of adorable children and adults alive today thanks to transplantation and families who are remembering a loved one who gave life as an organ or tissue donor – as well and food for the soul, the stories of each of those featured.
The publication, which does double duty as LifeLink Foundation’s annual report for the previous fiscal year that ran July 2014-June 2015, is a much anticipated labor of love that takes a full year to pull together between choosing featured participants from the many wonderful people we hear about and encounter, to coordinating photography and design, and finally heading to print. The team of people working to make every year’s calendar the best ever includes LifeLink employees, of course, but also photographer Barbara Banks and designer Sheila Sons, who have made this project a passion in addition to a job. And, of course the people who allow us to share their stories.
Once hot off the press, the calendar makes its debut to our most important audience first, the families we have the privilege to serve when we facilitate the organ and tissue donation process after the loss of a loved one. Annual Services of Remembrance to remember organ and tissue donors from the previous two years are held each fall, and attendees are the first to receive copies of Faces of Transplantation. Then, it’s distributed to medical personnel, volunteers, board members and community members with whom we work.
As is always the case, each and every story contained in the calendar and annual report is unique, moving and amazing. Without totally giving each and every month away, highlights from 2016 include tales of how more than one renewed life brought new life into the world, as transplant recipients share how they are grateful to be able to become parents to the next generation thanks to their donor families. Families from Florida, Georgia and Puerto Rico share how the decision to help others through organ and tissue donation lifted them up during their grieving process, including one family who had the opportunity to give their loved ones heart to someone they knew, sealing a bond forged both by proximity and circumstance. Many more stories illustrate how dreams are recognized thanks to transplantation, and children get the chance to grow up. Stay tuned for monthly features on Faces of Transplantation participants, beginning in January.