Quilts made by the Winter Texas Grandmas at Casa del Valle are providing valuable comfort to families when their loved one becomes an organ donor at hospitals across the Rio Grande Valley. Since starting a partnership with Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), the organ procurement organization that provides organ donation and recovery services for families in Central and South Texas, 20 donor families have received a hand-made quilt.
Seven years ago, Don Uecker of Wisconsin was making funeral arrangements for his wife, Darlene, when he asked family and friends to consider making a financial donation in her honor to the Texas Grandmas group. Years later, his relationship with the group and his volunteer work with TOSA led him to connect the two groups to provide something special for grieving families.
“I know she would have liked this,” Uecker said as the Winter Texans worked around him.
The group collects their fabrics from donations, often times even material from families within the park. The size of the group varies as Winter Texans start returning to the Valley for the season, but often the crafts room has about a dozen people working inside on a variety of tasks to complete a quilt.
Each week the group meets and can complete about 300 quilts in an individual season. They donate their quilts to a number of organizations, but say no matter where they go, they’re happy to know they can bring comfort to families.
“It’s nice for us to have a community for us to serve,” said Sandra Johnson of Ontario, Canada. “It’s good for us to hear how they’re used and know they’re needed.”
TOSA recently was gifted another eight quilts to use for upcoming donor cases. Families often drape the quilt over their loved one and take it home with them once the organ recovery is completed. For many families, the personal touch of the quilts provide them solace that feels like home, which is difficult to come by in the hospital setting.
“They’ve been generous enough to make and donate quilts that are given to families of organ donors,” said Edwina P. Garza, TOSA senior communications coordinator.
Texans are encouraged to register at the Texas Department of Public Safety or the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. For information on organ donation, community initiatives or to register online, visit TOSA1.org.
Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), founded in 1975, is one of 58 federally-designated Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) in the United States. TOSA is committed to a mission of saving lives through the power of organ donation by providing organ donation and recovery services to Central and South Texans wishing to donate, and to those waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.