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The Gift that Heals

The Nicholas Green Foundation

New Rose Honors Organ and Tissue Donors

Gift of Life A new rose -- golden yellow, tipped in pink, with a long straight stem and dark green foliage -- has been bred to honor families who donate a loved one's organs and tissues. It is called the "Gift of Life" and was chosen by donation groups in Oregon after a long process that eliminated thousands of possible alternatives. Last year Britain's Royal National Rose Society awarded it first place in its class.

"We hope this beautiful flower will bring a measure of solace to families who dealt with their own suffering by reaching out to others," Mary Jane Hunt, of the Oregon Donor Program, said. It was bred in England by Philip Harkness, one of the world's leading hybridizers. Although his company, Harkness New Roses, produces a hundred thousand hybrid plants a year, only a handful are eventually offered to growers.

"This Gift of Life is an ideal rose," Harkness says. "It has a lovely color and fragrance, is strong and healthy and should grow well in all the areas of the United States."

This year only eight hundred plants are available and many of them will go to organ and tissue donor families. But in the next four years Edmunds' Roses of Wilsonville, Oregon, plans to grow 25,000 plants. "For many of us a flower is a reminder of both the fragility and continuity of life," Phil Edmunds, President, says. "It is a perfect symbol for a life-giving donation."

"As families hear about the 'Gift of Life' we hope it will encourage them to talk about the good that can come out of a decision to donate," says Fred Bachofner, National Kidney Foundation of Oregon and Southwest Washington. "Then, besides being something of beauty, the new rose can truly be a way to save lives."

For further information, please contact: Oregon Donor Program (503) 494.7888 or the National Kidney Foundation of Oregon and Southwest Washington (503) 282.0990.

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