Phoenix hospital celebrates organ donors with special ceremony

- Mariene Diaz-Cruz vividly remembers her loving father.

"I saw my dad, like I remembered him when he was young," she said. "Pink skin, that twinkle in his eyes, that smile. He was just... it was a great gift."

He passed away seven years ago, but she says it was his liver donation that brought her and her family a little more time with him.

"He finally got his miracle of life when my youngest daughter was 9 months old, unfortunately, he passed away a month later, but that month was amazing," she said.

Mariene's father is one of the many lives represented at the Healing Garden ceremony. The Health Care for Hope ceremony at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix is one of 50 health organizations across Arizona that aim to educate and encourage people to register as an organ donor.

"We have over 100,000 individuals waiting on the waiting list, 24 hours, seven days a week for somebody to say yes to donation, and hence, that's the importance of registering," said Tania Kemp, of Donor Network of Arizona.

Mariene's father is one of many lives symbolized by a pinwheel, and each pinwheel represents 10 lives saved. Green, for every donor recipient, and the color blue for each person who was given a tissue, organ or cornea donor.

"I cannot say enough for the families of donors," Kemp said. "It's a true sacrifice and it's a true gift of love."

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