The new Gift of Life Garden at the National Arboretum Canberra will officially open on Sunday.
The garden will provide a place for quiet reflection and appreciation while raising awareness of organ and tissue donation and transplantation within the community.
Funded by the ACT government, the federal government’s Organ and Tissue Authority, Gift of Life
Incorporated and private donors, the Gift of Life venture joins the Gallery of Gardens on the Events Terrace.
Ngunnawal teenager Brad Stanley, who received a liver transplant when he was two years old, got a sneak peek of the garden on Friday, with Gift of Life Incorporated president David O’Leary.
"It's pretty cool," he said.
Brad, 19, who represented Australia at the World Transplant Games in Spain last year, said the garden would be a place he could go to and think about his donor, the details of whom he never knew.
"It's just somewhere really quiet and peaceful," the former Gungahlin College student said.
Designed by Somewhere Landscape Architects, the garden incorporates winding paths, a
mixture of plants, rock features, cascading water, viewing portals and a nook with a sculpture by
Bungendore artist Keith Bender.
Mr O’Leary hoped visitors to the National Arboretum would gain greater understanding and appreciation from the garden about organ donation.
“This garden has been created not only for organ donors, organ recipients and their families, but for the many visitors to the National Arboretum," he said.
"We hope it reminds those that haven’t registered on the Australian Organ Donor Register to [donate] and to discuss their decision with family."
Keith Bender, the creator of the sculpture, said he was honoured to have contributed to such an important
“I designed the sculpture to represent the gift of life, the intersecting circles forming a sphere represents life and the ECG shapes crossing over depict heartbeats, which symbolise donors and recipients coming
together,” Keith said.
Now working at Officeworks in Belconnen, Brad, who won two bronze medals for the 100m and 200m sprints, and silver in tennis at the transplant games, says his donor means everything to him.
"I'm very grateful and it makes me look back of everything I've achieved and that I owe it to them," he said.
Go to donatelife.gov.au to join the Australian Organ Donor Register.