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Monument honoring Utah organ donors getting makeover

First Published      Last Updated May 20 2014 09:27 am

Since 2002, a water feature on the southeast corner of Salt Lake City's Library Square has stood as a tribute to Utah's organ, eye, tissue and whole body donors.

The Celebration of Life Monument will continue to honor those gifts for the foreseeable future, but with less permanence than before. Overwhelmed by generosity, the monument is running out of space for the etched names of donors and undergoing a remodel.

Curved glass panels will be replaced with flat panels that are cheaper to manufacture and easier to install, adding more space and making it possible to swap them out as new donor names replace those of old.

"It makes the monument more sustainable," said Dixie Madsen, a spokeswoman for Intermountain Donor Services.

Glass panels are expected to stay in place for about five years, Madsen explained, after which they may find homes on the walls of Utah hospital transplant centers.

The $225,000 remodel is being paid for by donations from foundations and individuals, she said. Plans were to be unveiled Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony attended by donor families and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.

About 500 new names are added to the monument each year. And while that poses a display problem, it doesn't alleviate demand.

There are more than 121,000 Americans and about 800 Utahns waiting for organs, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

For information on how to register to donate, visit: http://www.yesutah.org.