Honouring 'heroes' with organ donor monument in Sudbury

A stone memorial now sits in a small park on Lorne Street at Oak Street in Sudbury, Ont. It's meant to honour organ donors and the decision they made.

Stone memorial erected in parkette on Lorne Street to honour donors

Nancy Griffin (right) and her daughter Zoe were at the unveiling of a new monument in Sudbury, Ont., honouring organ donors. Nancy's late husband Rich Griffin -a well-known radio personality- became an organ donor when he passed away suddenly in May 2015. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

There is a new memorial in Sudbury, Ont., which honours organ donors.

The stone monument is erected along Lorne Street at Oak Street, and includes flower beds and a flag pole.

Two benches will also be added says Bob Johnston, who came up with the idea to create a memorial for organ donors.

Johnston received a kidney two years ago from a donor he says he never got to meet.

During the ceremony to unveil the monument, Johnston called organ donors 'heroes'. He says he wanted to honour their decision to become donors.
A group of organ donor supporters helped cut the ribbon at the new monument in Sudbury honouring organ donors. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

Also speaking at Friday's ceremony was Nancy Griffin, the wife of the late Rich Griffin.

He was a well known radio personality in Sudbury who died suddenly in May 2015.

Rich had registered to be an organ donor several years before his death. Nancy says she knew right away what to do when her husband suffered a brain aneurysm.

She says the decision to allow Rich's organs to go to others was still emotional, but knowing he still lives on in others is comforting.

Rich donated five major organs — his heart, his lungs, his kidneys and his liver.

'It helped me to cope'

Nancy does have advice for families who may be going through this same decision. 

"Organ donation can turn this horrible, tragic, sad time in their life into something meaningful. It's really hard to imagine that when you're in it, but it really does give the whole situation meaning and helps you to cope."

"It helped me to cope. It helped me to heal," Griffin says.

To register to be a donor go to If you're not sure if you're already a registered donor, simply look at the back of your Ontario Health card. If the word donor is there, then you've already registered.