OSU honors transplant heroes with annual pinwheel event

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Each April, thousands of pinwheels fill the front plaza of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to honor former transplant patients, deceased organ donors, and living kidney and liver donors.

On Saturday, dozens of volunteers planted 11,000 pinwheels representing every lifesaving heart, lung, kidney, liver, and pancreas transplant performed at the Ohio State Comprehensive Transplant Center since 1967 in honor of National Donate Life Month.

“Last year, despite COVID and other challenges, our team was very strong and performed 599 lifesaving organ transplants, which was one of our strongest years so far,” said transplant surgeon Dr. Ashraf El-Hinnawi.

He said in a year during the pandemic, people need a space to get together to mourn, share memories, and hope for one another, and believes the pinwheel field fills that need.

“Really, it’s one of the best days we have here at Ohio State, where we really celebrate all that and give us the motivation to keep doing what we’re doing,” El-Hinnawi said.

El-Hinnawi said every participant has a different experience or story to share about what the pinwheel event means to them. Some talk and others listen, but it helps and gets the word out.

“One donor can save up to eight lives,” he said.

The pinwheel garden will be there for others to see throughout the month of April.

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