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Donor Quilt

The donor quilt was introduced nationally as a quilt in memory of a young kidney donor by the name of Katie.  She was only six years old when she died but was able to give the gift of a kidney to someone who needed it.  Katie’s mom contacted the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) for help with creating a donor quilt that would remember all donors and promote organ & tissue donation.  The NKF published an article calling for quilt donors in their quarterly newsletter.  Soon after, Katie’s mom started receiving quilt patches.  Some were made from baby blankets or a donor’s favorite clothes, some included photos, patches, or embroidery.  The quilt now travels throughout the United States, honoring donors and promoting organ & tissue donation. 

Initiated by Health First’s Tiger Team a quilt was started to honor local donors and donor families.  Linda Bartalot, a Health First RN, began the local quilt in memory of her brother, who was the first area organ & tissue donor.  Many more quilt patches have been added each year since then. The quilt travels between Health First hospitals to remind everyone of the heroes who have given the “gift of life” to so many by becoming organ & tissue donors.

How to Make a Quilt Panel

Quilt specifications:

The personalized area for each square should measure exactly 8 X 8.
There should be a ½ inch margin around the entire square for hemming. This should not contain creative work, as the margin will not be seen.
The final product should measure 8 ½ X 8 ½
All materials for the square are to be dry-clean "safe" Items such as beads or sequins can often be damaged in the dry-cleaning process.
Suggestions for creative ideas:
  • name and dates of life
  • depictions of hobbies, sports, or special interests
  • favorite poem or special saying
  • photo image
  • section of fabric from a favorite garment
  • an embroidered monogram
  • drawing or message from a donor's sibling, friend, or other relative
  • creative use of school colors
Supporting material:
Please include a brief description about your quilt panel, one that tells the story behind your square. The descriptions for each square in a panel will be compiled into a scrapbook that will accompany the quilt. The description should be limited to 200 words.
Photos of donors can also be sent with the description for inclusion in the scrapbook. (Photos will not be returned.)
Authorization form:
A signed authorization form must accompany all panels.Click here for form.

Quilt panels may be stitched or painted, appliquéd or silk-screened, or otherwise prepared. The quilt will be displayed at Health First facilities, seminars, health fairs, and other events that promote organ & tissue donation awareness.