All of us here at the Brain and Tissue Bank at the University of Maryland have been inspired by Linda M. and her generous outreach to others to champion the gift of organ and tissue donation. Our use of the use of the butterfly on much of our printed material and displays was inspired by Linda. The butterfly is not only symbolic of life's changes, but it also represents the life-giving discoveries of scientists and researchers which are made possible by tissue donations.
In Linda M.'s own words....
It became my dream and later a project to create a monument that would be a permanent tribute to the organ and tissue donors and to their families.
I needed a design that would represent everyone: the donor, the families, the recipients and the medical professional. I envisioned a hand, reaching up, reaching out, helping, sharing, giving.
The delicate butterfly and its metamorphosis symbolic of life's changes was a natural addition to this vision. The changes of death go beyond the grave. Grieving families are forever changed. Individuals will never be the same. Goals and dreams take on new direction.
As the butterfly begins a new life, so begins the new life of the bereaved family. With the energy and excitement of new discovery, the scientific researcher moves closer to understanding and cure with the knowledge that he has helped his patient and many more, the health care professional feels revitalized.
The monument was presented to the community in 1994. During the presentation ceremony, as the donors' names were read aloud, a lone butterfly circled above the stone memorial. I felt my "heart work" was complete.