[Skip to Content]
Donate Life Flag Raising

Upstate honors organ donors with regular flag raisings outside hospital

After several years of planning, Upstate Medical University is now honoring organ donor patients and families with regular flag raisings in a small garden outside the downtown hospital.

Upstate began honoring all adult and pediatric organ donors in May with the blue, green and white “Donate Life” flag.

“This is a small act to honor the patient and family during a difficult time when their decision to donate saves lives,” said Kyle N. Choquette, MSN, RN, NE-BC, CNRN, SCRN, associate director of nursing of the Throughput Operations Center.

The first flag raising was May 19 and six ceremonies have occurred to date. The flagpole, which was donated by a local company, was installed in a small garden area near the front traffic circle of Upstate University Hospital. A plaque next to the flagpole reads: “This garden is dedicated to those whom selflessly shared the gifts of organ and tissue donation to help others in need.”

The ceremony includes a few words about the patient and family, Choquette said.

“We hold the ceremonies about one month after each donation occurs,” he said. “We send a card to the family to notify them of the flag raising in honor of their loved one.” The flag flies for 24 hours.

The idea originated with pediatric intensive care nurse Amy Dorsch, RN and the project was handled through the Upstate Donor Council. Choquette said the goal is to also hold flag-raising ceremonies for eye and tissue donors in the future as well.