A solemn tribute was held Tuesday at Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, as more than 100 caregivers and staff members held its first-ever Honor Walk to pay their respects to an organ donor for giving the gift of life.

Physicians, nurses, support staff and volunteers all lined the hallway to honor the organ donor as the individual was moved from the intensive care unit to the operating room.

“For somebody to make that decision to be a donor, needs to be recognized and it really needs to be honored,” Brenda Benson, the director of trauma services at Memorial Hospital, told First Coast News.

It was Benson’s idea to have an Honor Walk to support organ donors and their families both now and in the future.

“I wanted to implement the Honor Walk at Memorial Hospital to show respect for the person that decides to make other people’s lives better with their decision to be an organ donor,” said Benson. “And on Tuesday, we had the opportunity to do just that and to honor an individual that chose to be an organ donor.  By his life ending, he was able to be a hero and save three lives in the community with his organs.”

There are currently more than 114,000 people on the national transplant waiting list. Twenty people die each day waiting for a transplant.

In an effort to raise community awareness about the importance of organ donation, Memorial Hospital also flies a dedicated ‘Donate Life’ flag in front of the hospital whenever an organ donor procedure is underway. Raising the special flag serves as another means to honor the donor as well.

“It was an amazing moment on Tuesday,” said Brad Talbert, Memorial’s Chief Executive Officer. “I’ve had a number of staff members tell me how impactful it was for them. In fact, one person said, ‘I was proud, sad and happy all at one time as well as respectful,’ relating it to their own family experience as a recipient of an organ donation.”

One donor can save up to eight lives. Visit here for more information on organ donation.

Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida is an affiliate of HCA Healthcare and member of HCA’s South Atlantic Division.

HCA 50th Anniversary
In 1968, HCA Healthcare was conceived by two physicians and an accomplished business leader — Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., Dr. Thomas Frist Jr., and Jack Massey. This year, HCA celebrates its golden anniversary and the culture of caring established by our three founders 50 years ago. To help us celebrate our 50th year, we’ll share stories here that reflect HCA’s mission – above all else, the care and improvement of human life – and our pledge to improve life and make history for the next 50 years and beyond.