Thursday, December 31, 2009


Donate Life Rose Parade Float Floragraph honoree Joseph Templeton's Mother supports Donate Life Colorado


Press release from Lutheran Hospital:
Lutheran Only Hospital in State to Participate in Rose Bowl Parade with Float Celebrating Lives of Area Organ, Corneal and Tissue DonorsLutheran to host special recognition program for donor families Jan. 24
(December 30, 2009) – On January 1, Lutheran Hospital will demonstrate its gratitude nationally to area residents who generously gave the gift of life by becoming organ, corneal or tissue donors. The hospital, which has the region’s only heart transplant and kidney transplant programs, recently dedicated roses that will appear on the Rose Bowl Parade’s Donate Life float. These roses represent 85 donors from northeastern Indiana and northwestern Ohio and honor their decision to donate life.
“As we celebrate the many lives saved at Lutheran Hospital, we must also reflect and acknowledge the donors who help us preserve the gift of life for others,” said Joe Dorko, CEO, Lutheran Hospital. “We’re proud to honor donors and their families through the Rose Parade Float and we look forward to personally recognizing each donor and their families at our special donor recognition program. We want donor families to know that we have not forgotten them, rather we are inspired by them.”
Each donor’s name was placed on a rose vial used on the Rose Parade float. A duplicate vial and a certificate will be presented to participating donor families at Lutheran’s recognition program on January 24. The program will feature Joann Nixon, a local donor mother and wife, who represented Indiana on the Rose Parade float. Other speakers include a heart recipient and a cornea recipient.
The Donate Life Rose Parade Float is positioned as the fourth float in the parade, and the parade begins at 11 a.m. Central time. The float itself highlights a majestic phoenix with its tail feathers adorning floragraph portraits of donors. The theme of the float is “New Life Rises” and it represents all people touched by donation.
Anyone interested in becoming an organ, corneal or tissue donor is encouraged to register online at


From IOPO Website

Late Tuesday evening (actually 12:30 AM Wednesday Indiana time!) we had the honor of personally placing the dedicated roses from Indiana on the front of the Donate Life Float. Our families helped us read the dedication tags aloud before placing each rose on the float. We carefully placed more than 100 roses, including 85 roses from Lutheran Hospital honoring each of their donors, and several roses dedicated by IOPO volunteers and other Indiana families. It was our pleasure and a privilege to help with this, and it will be one of many special memories of our Rose Parade experience!


Source: Omaha World Herald


This year's annual Rose Parade in California will include a few Nebraska ties.
One float in Friday's parade in Pasadena is sponsored by RFD-TV, a television channel founded in the Omaha area that focused for nearly 10 years on providing entertainment geared at rural American lifestyles.

The float will showcase the FFA organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America. Commodities grown in the United States, including Nebraska corn and soybeans, will be depicted on the float.
The Millard West High School marching band will participate in the Rose parade, now in its 121st year. Millard West is the first Nebraska band in 16 years to be invited to the event.

A second float in the parade will feature the likeness of a Nebraska man whose heart, liver, pancreas, both kidneys and both corneas, as well as bone and tissue, were donated after his death nearly four years ago.
Thomas Varney V will be one of more than 75 people depicted on the Donate Life float, which salutes organ donation. Varney was 21 on Jan. 1, 2006, when he was shot and killed while visiting his hometown of Arnold, Neb.


Source: The News Sentinel - Fort Wayne, Ind

Roses to represent Hoosier organ donors
They will be honored in a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade on Friday.

By Ellie Bogue of The News-Sentinel
Tim Cassiday, along with 90 other organ, eye and tissue donors from Lutheran Hospital, will each be represented by a rose on the Donate Life float in Friday's Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.Tim Cassiday had sleep apnea, and the night before he was to go into the hospital for tests, his wife, Kim, awoke to find him unconscious and struggling to breathe. He was placed in intensive care at Lutheran Hospital for a week, but he had been without oxygen for too long to survive.“We had to make a choice,” said Cassiday.Kari Cassiday, Tim's daughter, is a registered nurse at Lutheran Hospital and has seen such tragic situations before; she was able to help her mother through the process. “We donated his corneas, bone, tissues and tendons; we were told his donations would help up to 75 people,” said Kari Cassiday.“ I know your dad would have wanted to do this; he is a giving person,” said Kim Cassiday.In November, the family received a letter from Lutheran Hospital detailing its plan to represent donors from Lutheran Hospital on the float with a rose for each.“Joe Dorko, our CEO, is very dedicated to organ donation and sees this as a bigger way to represent the Lutheran families,” said Lizette Downey, of Lutheran Media relations.The Cassidays are happy to have Tim Cassiday represented on the float. In addition to the rose, the family can inscribe a 20-word message on vials. There will be two vials for each family, one on the float and one for the family to keep. Those will be presented, with a certificate, Jan. 24 in a ceremony at Lutheran Hospital.The Indiana Organ Procurement Organization is sponsoring Joann Nixon to represent Indiana donor families on the float. Nixon lost her son, Christopher, 11, in 1998 and her husband in 2007, and both times the family donated organs, eyes and tissue.“ I have never known a family who has donated to later regret it. But I have known many families that later regretted their choice not to donate. It gives you a different route in your grief,” said Nixon.Nixon said she felt donating organs from her son, Chris, and later her husband gave a part of both a chance to live on, as well as improving the lives of others.“ My dad loved seeing all the little grandkids; I know he would have wanted to help someone else see all their little grandkids, too,” said Kari Cassiday.

Register to become and organ,eye and tissue donor. Please visit Donate


Source: 9 News, Aurora, Colorado
AURORA - In 2002, Manuel Salazar lost all four of his limbs during a jobsite accident that sent 115,000 volts through his body - twice. Through years of rehabilitation and determination, he rebuilt his body and his spirit. Now, Salazar wants to share his story with the world.

"I'm nervous," Salazar said. "But it's going to be exciting at the same time."
Salazar was invited to appear on the "Donate Life" float at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. He is going on behalf of a Colorado-based, nonprofit organization called AlloSource.
"I feel that it's an honor for me to be able to help them get the word out and let other people know that maybe are in a similar situation," Salazar said.
AlloSource provides skin, bone, and tissue allografts.
For Salazar, the donations helped doctors surgically attach an extension of what he has left of his right arm. Donor bone was used to help build his shoulder joint to support the placement muscle and tissue.
"This extra 6-inch arm has made a huge difference in my life," Salazar said.
He says he can feed himself, scratch his face, and manipulate objects without having to use a prosthetic arm.
He wants other amputees to know of the procedure and he wants others to think about donating organs and tissue.
"Before I was presented with it, I didn't even know anything about bone tissue or that they could do stuff like that," Salazar said.
Two years ago, he started his own custom car shop. He hopes to one day drive again with the use of a joystick and his arm. Salazar downhill skis, water skis, and swims. He wants other amputees to know that they can still chase their dreams.
"As long as I can inspite people and help people, I'll do whatever it takes to do that," Salazar said.


Source: San Jose Mercury News

By Scott Herhold
Mercury News Columnist

Posted: 12/30/2009 08:00:00 PM PST
Updated: 12/31/2009 07:05:44 AM PST

The story I was given for the day before New Year's seemed to have all the ribbons: Good guy from San Jose dies and donates cornea. Young woman who lives six miles away receives cornea and gets sight restored. The Rose Parade in Pasadena will honor both people.
Though the facts were true, it didn't happen the way I first thought: The good guy was not the donor of the woman's new cornea. Corneas are not off-the-shelf products.
Yet the story appealed to me anyway, maybe even more strongly, because it illustrated the bank of human generosity and need.
Begin with the good guy: Tom Dunn, a 27-year-old youth mentor at his church and a manager for KDS Plumbing in San Jose, grew up with an adventurous spirit.
In August 2008, he was hiking with his best friend on Mount Si in Washington state when he slipped from a steep trail and fell 200 feet, suffering fatal injuries.
Dunn's driver's license bore the pink dot that identified him as a donor. And after his body was recovered, the local coroner allowed his corneas to be taken for transplanting.
Dunn's parents say one cornea went to a person in Washington state, another to a patient in Japan.
"He just felt that since the organs wouldn't be of use to him, he would want other people to benefit,'' said his father, Ron Dunn.
Skip forward now to the story of Cristina Margolis, a petite and dark-haired 26-year-old San Jose woman. In May 2007, Margolis came down with
a serious and rare eye infection called acanthamoeba keratitis.
Margolis, an admissions coordinator at San Jose State University, submitted to a treatment of toxic eye drops that cured the infection but left her legally blind in the right eye. While she was happy to be rid of the infection, she was heartbroken at the result. "I spent three months in the dark, basically," she told me.
Finally, after waiting a year to be sure the infection did not return, Margolis received a new cornea in December 2008. She can remember the exact moment the bandages were pulled off. "Oh, my God, I can see you!" she told her mother, Anna Lacorte.
The restored sight in her right eye mattered for more than one reason. In August, Margolis bore a daughter, Giuliana, her first child. And with mirrors, she saw the birth. Her eyesight is now 20-30.
Though the Dunn family and Margolis wanted to know more about the origin and the destination of their respective corneas, SightLife, the eye bank that arranged the transfer, put up a firewall: It doesn't reveal the names of specific donors to the recipients, and vice-versa.
It does allow the participants to write letters that will be delivered to the other party. And both the Dunn family and Cristina Margolis have penned eloquent notes about their experience.
"We were very proud of his life," wrote Tom's parents, Ron and Barbara Dunn, "and we hope that the person who receives his cornea might see even a small part of what Tom saw in the world and in other people."
Cristina Margolis put it in terms of her daughter. "It brings tears to my eyes, knowing that I will be able to see my baby's beautiful face, watch her take her first steps and witness all of the other milestones," she wrote to her donor.
That brings us to the Rose Bowl parade. Tomorrow, Margolis and other recipients will be riding on the Donate Life float, which will feature a phoenix, the mythical figure of life rising from a bed of flames.
The float will also bear floragraphs — portraits in flowers — of Tom Dunn and 75 others. The SightLife group is teaming with the California Transplant Donor Network to raise awareness about the float. The Dunn family helped to build the portrait of their son.
I had to explain to my editors that it wasn't a neat little story: There's no direct connection between Margolis and Dunn. One does not bear the other's cornea. As far as we know, they never crossed paths in life.
In a larger sense, that's the point of donating organs or tissue. When you make a deposit at a bank, you don't insist on knowing exactly where a given $20 bill will end up. You have faith that Andrew Jackson's picture will circulate efficiently.
The pink dot (yes, your columnist has one) on a driver's license means you hope that someone can make use of a piece of your body. In the end, the who doesn't matter. It's the giving and acceptance that count.


Source: Redlands Daily Facts

Jesse B. Gill, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/30/2009

PASADENA - Hannah Grinnan spent Tuesday cutting flowers and gluing them to a float that will be part of the Rose Parade on New Year's Day.
Next to her is the surgeon who performed her heart transplant in 1998.
Hannah, a 12-year-old from Redlands, received a heart transplant 11 days after her birth, performed by Dr. Leonard Bailey of Loma Linda University Children's Hospital. On this day, the duo affixed flowers to the Donate Life float, where Hannah will ride as the youngest of 24 organ, eye and tissue donors.
"I have waited a long time for this," Hannah said. "I am so excited because not very many people get to ride on it."
Hannah's father, Bill, said she was promised a spot on the parade float when she was old enough. That promise was made five years ago.
"Since then, she's been counting down the years and months and days until she'd be able to do it," he said. "This is a really special milestone in her life."
Hannah received her heart from Baby Trevor, who was born brain dead. Baby Trevor's mother, Kristine Clemmons, also helped Hannah and Bailey decorate the float.
Clemmons said the experience confirmed to her that she made the right choice to donate Baby Trevor's heart to save Hannah's life.
"It's amazing to see that he had a purpose - the purpose was to give her life," she said.
Of all of the heart transplant patients Bailey has had, he said he sees Hannah the most because they both live
in Redlands.
Bailey said watching Hannah and Clemmons decorate the float together was symbolic of how good people can be to each other when they try.
"Organ donation is the best thing humans can do for each other to enable people to survive," Bailey said. "The transplantation process manages to close the circle on grief and reintroduces the donor's family to life."
Bill Grinnan said his family feels blessed by Bailey and Clemmons and what they did for Hannah.
"We cherish every day," he said. "We wouldn't have her without them."

to Story


Posted: Thursday, December 31, 2009
By CANDACE CHASE/Daily Inter Lake

A 25-year-old Troy man who died two years ago on New Year’s Day will be remembered during Friday’s Rose Parade for the gifts he gave as an organ donor.
Bronson Parsons’ family — his parents Paul and Carol Parsons of Troy and sisters Erin Leighty and Robin Cummings — personally decorated the floral image of Bronson that will be displayed with 76 others on the national Donate Life float honoring organ donors.

“It’s early in the parade — the fourth float,” Carol said Tuesday. “He’s the first Montanan honored.”
The family traveled to Pasadena, Calif., in early December to make the “floragraph” image and then again this week to help hundreds of other volunteers apply thousands of fresh flowers to finish the float Wednesday and today.
The tribute celebrates Bronson’s decision to become an organ donor. Through his gift, the 25-year-old left a legacy far greater than many who lived years longer.

“He was able to save six lives and enhance the lives of 30 people,” his mother said.

Bronson died from massive head injuries after he was struck by a vehicle in a Jan. 1, 2008 hit-and-run accident in East Missoula. His family had no qualms with agreeing with the organ donation option that Bronson had checked on his driver’s license.

Those first hours of shock, pain and grief remain forever etched in Carol’s memory.
“It gave us great solace to know Bronson’s wishes,” she said. “He wanted to save lives.”
It was no surprise to his family that his organ gift benefited so many. He was never one for half measures.
“That was the way Bronson lived his whole life — he did everything to the max,” she said. “He went full bore when he was interested in something.”

Snowboarding was his biggest passion, along with skiing that he started at age 6. An avid hunter, fisherman and hiker, Bronson also loved the adrenaline rush of cliff diving, bungee jumping and sky diving.
“He scared me to death,” Carol said with a laugh.

He was studying for his private pilot’s license and dreamed of learning to fly helicopters. In his teenage years, Bronson became an advocate of organ donation when a close family friend saved her 17-year-old daughter’s life with her gift, as a living donor, of a kidney.

“Bronson was very involved in that whole process,” Carol said. “That’s what gave him the idea of becoming a donor.”
Even after graduating from high school, he maintained a strong commitment to being a donor. His mother vividly remembers when Bronson returned from Portland to Montana six months prior to his death. He had been working in Oregon as a carpenter. She and Paul went with him when he went to renew his Montana driver’s license and watched as he checked the organ-donor box. As of 2008, just a little over 60 percent of drivers in Montana had chosen that life-affirming option. It was almost as if he had a premonition at the time.

“He was sitting next to me and said ‘Look mom, I’m an organ donor — remember that,’” Carol recalled.
His mother, a retired elementary school teacher, and his father, a retired forest service employee, have since learned that Bronson’s donated organs helped people from their own backyard to as far away as Georgia.

One coincidental meeting happened last fall. A local friend of Bronson’s was hunting and approached a young man to ask permission to cross his land. After hearing he was from Troy, the young man asked if he knew Bronson Parsons.
“He said ‘Bronson was my dad’s lung donor,’” Carol said. “He lived 20 miles from our house.”
The two exchanged telephone numbers and the Parsons connected with the lung recipient.
The father of eight children, the recipient had developed lung disease from working at a mine. He had suffered for about 12 years with the debilitating effects of the disease.
After receiving, Bronson’s organ, he was able to return to hunting and other activities he loved.
“This was a total rebirth for him,” Carol said. “He feels a very big connection with our family now.”

She and Paul also connected with a man in Georgia who received one of Bronson’s kidneys. Carol said hearing these stories and their heart-felt gratitude eased their grief and helped their healing.
“We have read their letters over and over and treasured their phone conversations,” she said.

Bronson’s dedication to organ donation and compelling life story helped win him a place on the national Donate Life float in the New Year’s Rose Parade. Carol said the family enjoyed working together on the 16-by-20 inch rendering on the earlier trip to Pasadena. They used all kinds of organic materials to fill a digitally enhanced and enlarged photo of Bronson. “It was sort of like paint by numbers,” Carol said. “We were pretty happy with it. It certainly resembles him.”
She was anticipating a good time working with the other families, organ recipients and other volunteers in a mad rush to finish the float by New Year’s Day.

The family has reserved seats to watch the Rose Parade and cheer as Bronson’s image with the other donors floats down Colorado Boulevard and flashes across television screens around the world.
Carol loves the theme “New Life Rises,” celebrating the rebirth of lives like her neighbor’s thanks to Bronson.
“What a great idea, a phoenix rising from the ashes with photos of the donors on the tail,” she said. “We are so proud that Bronson made this decision ahead of time and wanted to give in this special way. It exemplifies his character as a very loving and caring person.”

People interested in making the same gift may do so by registering at
Donate LIfe Organ Donation Blog urges you do to so today - New Years Resolution # 1


Source: Memorial Examiner
By: Rusty Graham

As an emergency room doctor and medical entrepreneur who loved his work, Dr. Victor Miranda found satisfaction in helping others in moments of great need. But when he died suddenly at the age of 52 of cardiac arrest from an undetected congenital heart defect, his family was faced with the agonizing decisions that grieving survivors must face.

One decision that came easy was to share Miranda’s organs, tissue, bone and tendons with those who needed them.

“We decided when we were a young couple that (organ donation) was something we wanted to do,” said Lisa Miranda, Miranda’s wife of 27 years, a nurse and Piney Point resident.

Dr. Victor Miranda will be honored Friday with a floragraph on a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

Built by Donate Life, a national organ donation organization, the float will feature floragraphs representing 76 organ donors from across the country. Float riders include 24 recipients of organs and other “gifts of life” from donors.

The floragraph — a portrait created with floral materials — was sent to Houston earlier this month so the family could add detail. A ceremony was held at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons on Bering Drive with the Lisa, Ashley and Matthew Miranda adding touches to the portrait in front of a small group of family and friends.“It’s really a nice essence of Victor,” Lisa Miranda said.

Called “New Life Rises,” the Donate Life float features a phoenix — the mythical symbol of life coming out of death — rising into the sky and representing those who give life in death, and those whose lives are renewed.The floragraphs, including Miranda’s, will be placed along fire in the phoenix’s wake as it rises to the sky.

Miranda’s placement on the float is sponsored by Dignity Memorial, a network of funeral homes to which Geo. H. Lewis & Sons belong.“We’re honored to sponsor the Donate Life float,” said Bradford Wyatt, vice president and COO of Geo. H. Lewis. “I can’t think of a more appopriate person to honor than Dr. Miranda. He spent his life saving lives ... and he’s still saving lives.”A doctor and family friend asked Lisa Miranda about donating Victor Miranda’s organs while he clung to life on Dec. 11, 2008. Lisa Miranda said she had to ask her children — Michael, 27, Ashley, 23, and Matthew, 19.“They didn’t hesitate (to agree),” she said.Victor Miranda’s kidneys went to two fathers.

A young mother who wasn’t expected to live through Christmas that year received a full lung. Another recipient got a liver. Numerous others got tissue, bone and tendons.“Knowing that Victor lives on through others is very comforting,” said Lisa Miranda. “This is a story that we wanted to tell. We’re very proud of him.”Born in Peru, Victor Miranda moved to Houston just as he was starting high school. He knew Spanish and French then, but little English. He learned the language and excelled at Clear Lake High School.After graduating from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Miranda served a surgical residency at John Sealy Hospital but soon realized that emergency care was his passion.He worked as an emergency room doctor at Oak Branch Hospital in Richmond, then with a partner opened a concierge emergency room in the Willowbrook area.“He wanted to be an ER doctor,” said Lisa Miranda. “He was skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate.”Lisa Miranda said that a Mass in Victor Miranda’s honor was held Dec. 11 of this year — the same day that Lisa became a converted Catholic.“I’d been taking classes all along (before Victor Miranda’s death),” she said. “It was special to honor him in that way.”Lisa Miranda and her family will be in Pasadena, Calif., over New Year’s.

They’re excited that the Donate Life float is 10th in the lineup — they’re hoping that parade announcers will spend some time describing the float and its symbolism. They’re even more hopeful that Victor Miranda’s story will be told that day.Lisa Miranda said she hopes to meet those who received Victor Miranda’s organs. Meetings are arranged through an intermediary and must be agreed to by both parties. Lisa Miranda said she waited a year before sending out letters — she thinks that is an appropriate amount of time to pass.

She said she plans to donate everything when she dies, and she encourages everyone to consider doing the same.“Talk with your family (about your decision),” she said. “If the family knows beforehand, the decision is already made and they don’t have to think about it.”Lisa Miranda said that no gift is greater than organ donation.“It really is the gift of life,” she said. “That’s what Victor wanted.”


Rose Parade float to feature floral portrait of Eastern student killed in bus accident
Staff Report: Journal Gazzette
CHARLESTON — Ever since Cameron Chana was killed in a May bus accident in Mattoon, his parents have been honoring his life and his decision to be an organ donor.Now, the efforts of Rob and Lori Chana of Clarendon Hills to honor their son will be part of a Rose Parade float on Friday in Pasadena, Calif. A floral portrait of Chana, an Eastern Illinois University graduate, will represent the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donation Network in the Donate Life float in this nationally televised parade.Chana had just graduated from EIU and was preparing to begin a master’s in business administration program when he and Justin Sleezer of Yorkville, both 22, were killed in the double-decker bus accident on Illinois Route 16 in Mattoon. Working with Gift of Hope, Chana’s parents agreed to organ and tissue donation.Lori Chana said in a letter provided to Gift of Hope that the loss of any child is devastating, and no parent is prepared to deal with the myriad of issues when their child unexpectedly dies.

“Cameron continues to help his family, even in his death. When the organ donation representative approached us at the hospital, she provided us with a document that Cameron had executed years before. He had taken the decision of organ donation out of our hands by taking all the appropriate steps to be an organ donor long before his unexpected death.“Our family is now focused on spreading the word and the importance of signing up to be an organ donor, focusing on the positive impacts it has on others in a time of extreme pain and grief,” Mrs. Chana said.
The Donate Life float’s floral portraits are images captured in flowers, seeds and spices to represent millions of people touched by organ and tissue donation, including donor families, living and deceased donors, transplant recipients and those waiting for a transplant. The Chanas helped decorate their son’s portrait on Dec. 12.“This year Gift of Hope will have its first-ever floragraphs on the Donate Life float,” said Gift of Hope spokesman David Bosch in a press release. “Cameron’s story has inspired many others, especially college-aged residents, to consider organ/tissue donation.
We’re incredibly proud to have Cameron featured on the float.”Nick Urig, a representative for Gift of Hope, said that the memory of Chana helped spur fellow EIU students to register more than 200 organ/tissue donors, claiming the winning spot in the 2009 Donate Life Illinois Campus Challenge.Urig noted that Rob and Lori Chana also have memorialized their son by creating the Web site, which includes a letter from a recipient of one their son’s organ donations.Mrs. Chana said her son worked at a local pharmacy while in high school, volunteered at Hinsdale hospital, and went on mission trips to The Czech Republic and The Dominican Republic.
At EIU, the marketing major held several offices and headed up many activities as a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity.“Cameron was truly gifted at developing relationships. As a son, brother, relative or friend, Cameron set the benchmark on caring, supporting and loving others,” Mrs. Chana said.


By Katie Drake
The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 12/31/2009 07:00:23 AM MST

Caroline Bryant passed away in 1997, but she'll ride, in more ways than one, in the 2010 Rose Parade
Bryant was an organ donor and her liver recipient, Tyla Newbold, will ride on the "Donate Life" float with Bryant's son, Carter.
Bryant was eight months pregnant with Carter, now 12, when she was killed in a car accident in Cedar City. Her organs were given to seven people, all waiting for a life-saving transplant.
One of those recipients was Newbold, then 16, who was suffering from a blood clotting disorder that destroyed her liver. The Sandy teen had been on the transplant list for 18 months, and doctors said she had only weeks to live.
Newbold and Carter will join 22 other organ recipients on the float, along with a floragraph of Caroline, a portrait created using seeds and spices. They hope to raise awareness of organ donation --- and recruit desperately needed future donors.
There were 375 Utahns waiting for organ transplants as of Wednesday, according to Intermountain Donor Services. Each day 15 to 20 Americans die awaiting transplants.
Utah actually ranks in the top 10 states for donors signed up, said Alex McDonald, with Intermountain Donor Services. The trouble is that only one in 80 deaths meets the requirements for donation. Generally, donors must pass away from a head injury, in the hospital and on a ventilator.
The pain and grief of such a sudden death is often eased by the knowledge that someone else will get a second chance, McDonald said.
Since Newbold's transplant, the two families have become one, united by ties of love and blood.
Newbold made a quilt for baby Carter soon after recovering from her transplant, which he still cherishes. She created it as a school sewing project, and while she was docked points for making a baby quilt instead of a full-sized one, she has no regrets. That quilt is just one small way Newbold is trying to show her appreciation.
The Newbold family also decorated a tree in Caroline's honor at the Festival of Trees, but no matter what they do, the family knows they can never repay the wonderful gift, said Teresa Newbold, Tyla's mother.
"It's very humbling," she said, "because you realize someone has to die for your daughter to live."
Both families, along with Caroline's parents, will be in Pasadena, Calif., for the parade, watching Carter and Tyla from the grandstand. They had the chance to complete the decorations on the float, and place Caroline's floragraph on the float. They also attended a gala dinner to honor organ donor families.
Carter and Tyla were nominated to appear on the float by singing group All-4-One, who wrote a song in honor of Caroline called "When I Needed An Angel."
The group became good friends with the Newbolds after Tyla received her transplant. Stuck in the hospital, she was unable to attend their concert. Her mother contacted their manager, hoping for an autograph, but the band chose to visit her in the hospital instead.

Register to be an organ donor - in Utah - Yes Utah!
To register in other state please click HERE


Donate Life Float Rises Like a Phoenix
Written by DianaMartinez and Alex Garcia, Sun Staff
Wednesday, 30 December 2009

"New Life Rises" is the theme for this year's Donate Life Rose Parade. A large phoenix has been created to soar 30 feet in the air, above the 24 float riders - all transplant recipients along with family members of deceased donors, seated along a Wall of Names inspired by the National Donor Memorial in Richmond, Virginia.
The phoenix's tail feathers are adorned with dozens of floragraphs - portraits created with flowers that are created from photos of those who have passed and donated organs to those in need. The float is also adorned with roses with each rose placed in a vial with a message inscribed dedicated to an organ donor.

"The families of these donors have grieved the loss of their loved ones, yet they will celebrate their lives when the Donate life float and its floragraphs journey down Colorado Boulevard on NewYear's Day." Said Bryan Stewart, chairman of the Donate Life float com-mittee. Steward is also a Vice- President for OneLegacy, the nonprofit organ and tissue recovery organization in LosAngeles.
"The process of decorating the float and creating the floragraphs can be healing for the donors' family members," said Stewart.

Kari Kozuki, a ShermanOaks resident who works for One Legacy in the Family Services Department, has worked on the Donate Life floats each year, understands what it means for all of the volunteers who work for hours around the clock placing flowers on the float one by one.
"You feel a lot of pride for what you're able to do, having your hands touch that float," she said. "When you see it pass by in the parade, you know you're raising awareness about organ and tissue donation. It's a lot of work, but very rewarding."

The OneLegacy float is tangible testimony to the "gift of life" for thosewho have both donated organs and tissue and those who have been the recipients. Seeing the organ recipients who ride on the float along with the names and floragraphs of those that donated organs is powerful and meaningful for all of the families involved "This is like therapy for them. It makes them feel closer to the loved ones they've lost. It keeps their loved ones memory alive," said Kozuki.

Kristine Clemmons from Bakersfield can attest to that. In 1998, her newborn son Trevor Frisch was born brain dead and she donated his organs for other babies, including Hannah Grinnan, who at the tender age of just 11 days received her son's heart.

Baby Trevor's image is one of the floragraphs, his photo in flowers, illustrated on this year's float, along with the faces of 76 other donors.

Both Clemmons and Grinnan reunited this week, as they do at least twice a year, but this time they got together to help decorate the Donate Life Float.

"This is for him [Trevor]. He never got to build memories, so I'm building the memories that he never had," said Clemmons, of her son. Hannah Grinnan, is now a healthy seventh grader who loves to swim, ride bikes and aspires to be a food critic one day.

Grinnan is also the youngest of 24 organ, eye and tissue recipients chosen to ride aboard Donate Life's 2010 float titled "New Life Rises," and she's looking forward to the experience. It's significant that she will ride on the float along with the portrait of three-day old Trevor.
"I'm very excited. I've been on the waiting list to ride the float for five years until I became old enough to do it. I'm really happy," said the pre-teen.

Kristine Clemmons' newborn son, Trevor died, she donated his organs to other babies including Hannah Grinnan, now 12. Hannah will ride on this year's Donate Life Rose Parade float.
"We have been so blessed this holiday season, not only was Hannah chosen to ride the float and spread the message of hope through organ donation, but she gets to decorate it with people who made her life possible," said Bill Grinnan, Hanna's father.

There are many similar stories connected to the Donate Life float. The floragraph portrait of high school football coach mike Craig of Ohio will accompany rider Mike Vyrostek, a college football player who received the first directed tissue donation in that state from Craig.
Heart recipient Steve Bond will ride along with the floragraph of his donor Mike Roman Reyes of Arizona who was only 17 when he died from a head injury.

Two riders 13-year-old Carter Bryant and Tyla Newbold will ride with the floragraph of Carter's mother, Caroline Elizabeth Ball Bryant of Utah, who was only 21 when she delivered Carter the day before her death, becoming a donor to six people, including Tyla.

The floragraph images of donors Kim Kimble Gast of Woodland Hills, Nicholas Green of La Canada Flintridge, Zenaida Reyes Aureliano Hoh, M.D. of Chatsworth will also be among those displayed on the float.
More than 28,000 lives are saved each year in the United States through organ donations.
In addition, evey year hundreds of thousands of people need donated corneas and tissue to prevent or cure blindness, heal burns or save limbs.

Lois Hubbs, husband John is one of those people who donated his corneas. Hubbs said her husband had a massive heart attack so his organs could not be useful but his corneas could be used.
Hubbs said her husband, a talented artist and musician, believed in organ and tissue donation and was clear about how he felt.

"We talked about it and even joked about it and John said to 'sal-vage the parts, celebratemy life and do whatever with the rest.?said Hubbs.

Since his death in December 2006, Hubbs has worked on healing and it's her goal to become an ambassador for the organization.

"During the Field of Gold Ceremony [where John was honored] by the organization, a man walked up to me to accompany me and he had themost compassionate eyes, he told me, 'Yo're going to be ok,?Hubbs said. "I want to be in that position to make that walk for someone else. He told me, I've been exactly where you are. He could talk the talk and walk the walk.

Lois Hubbs stands next to John --her husband's name on the Donate Life float. She volunteers to work on the float every year.
"He understood and so do I."
Hubbs said her employer knows that at the end of every December she is taking vacation to work on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. "I'm here to do whatever is needed, whether it's sweeping the floors or hauling out trash, It's here to help."
The holidays coincide with the time of year when her husband died and it's fitting that her time is spent with others working on the float.
"John was dear to me and gave sight to a stranger and each and every person here is also now so dear to me. This organization does phenomenal work, it's so important that people consider putting the little dot on their drivers licenseto indicate that they agree to be an organ donor to help someone else.
God forbid that you or one of your family members might also need it [someone to donate to you] someday."
For more information about the Donate Life Rose Parade Float

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


FLORAGRAPH MEMORY: Broomfield residents Rob Schuppert died at age 24. His likeness will be featured in a floragraph on the New Life Rises parade entry in the 121st Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Friday.
Source: Broomfield Enterprise
By: Bette Erickson

"I am such a huge advocate for organ and tissue donation," Bobbi Schuppert said on the phone Dec. 23, the day that would have been her son`s 37th birthday had he not died at age 24.
"I realize donating is a personal choice."

Formerly of Broomfield, she and her husband lost their son, Rob, to a pulmonary embolism in 1997, a month after a January car accident. Living in the Westlake subdivision at the time, she noted how losing Rob was difficult for the couple and his older sister, Tiki.
"Rob was such a giving person," Schuppert said, "And he`s still giving today -- that`s how amazing it is."
On New Year`s Day in Pasadena, Calif., Rob Schuppert will be represented alongside Joseph Templeton, another Colorado organ and tissue donor who died at age 22, and Manuel Salazar, whose life was saved by donated tissue.
Salazar, of Aurora, survived a devastating construction accident and now thrives as a quadruple amputee. Six years ago, Salazar`s life changed in an instant when a crane on a job site hit a power line, sending two 115,000 volts of electricity raging through his body. He survived, although his burns were life-threatening and required that his arms and legs be amputated.

Salazar will ride in the 121st Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena as part of the 2010 Donate Life`s float entry -- New Life Rises.

While Schuppert and her husband, Al, who now live in Edgewater, will not be at the parade, she said she worked on some of the final details of the float`s floragraph of Rob. The floragraph is made from flowers, coffee grounds and other organic materials mirroring a portrait of her son Rob, Schuppert said. The New Life Rises parade entry features a phoenix -- the mythical symbol of life coming out of death -- rising into the sky, representing those who give life in their death and the people whose lives are renewed by their gifts.

"It is a very emotional thing for us, even after 13 years," Schuppert said. "It`s an honor for our family and another way to say think about donation.

"We know Rob would have supported this. He loved to give -- he would give to others and not expect anything in return."

Rick Miller, director of Dignity Memorial providers in Denver, said "It is such a privilege for us to honor Rob`s life and legacy by highlighting the choice his parents made to help other families in need. Working in the funeral profession, it is wonderful to have this opportunity to recognize the gift of life that one person`s donation can give to so many others."
The two-hour parade, which will follow a 5½-mile route, will be broadcast on NBC beginning at 9 a.m. Friday.
"We feel Rob would revel in all this," his mom said. "Being an organ and tissue donor is an example of how in life we can make a difference to someone when we die."


Source: New Jersey Newsroom

Jeremy Starr of Wrightstown to represent Edison transplant foundation in Pasadena, Calif.

Not only does he do his part to support his country, but Jeremy Starr is also doing his part to raise awareness of the impact of tissue donation. The decorated Air Force Technical Sergeant will represent the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF) on the Donate Life Float in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day.
Technical Sergeant Starr, originally from Virginia and now living in Wrightstown, N.J., was handicapped with a serious knee injury, a life-changing injury.

But Starr's determination and tenacity took center stage.
And helping him along the way was the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, a non-profit tissue bank located in Edison, N.J., that provided the tissue used for Jeremy's successful knee surgery.

Currently assigned to the 305th Aerial Port Squadron at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, Starr was on active duty in Aviano, Italy in 1999, when he was backed into a hole while playing football and snapped his knee. The result was a torn ACL and two meniscal tears.

His knee was repaired in 2001, but while stationed in Kunsan, Korea four years later, he re-injured his ACL and was told his military career was probably over. Then, in the spring of 2006, while stationed in Hawaii, he met the surgeon who would save his military career.

Lt. Col. Daniel White, MD of the Tripler Medical Center in Honolulu, told Jeremy that the injury had caused his left leg to bow, a condition which would prevent him from remaining in the Air Force, where he enjoyed a career leading over 60 military personnel daily.

Dr. White performed a two-phase surgery, the first correcting the bowing of his knee with a procedure called a tibial osteotomy, and the second, using a donated tendon and meniscus allografts to repair Jeremy's ACL and to replace both meniscus. Extensive physical therapy followed both surgical procedures.

An exceptional athlete in track and field since high school, Jeremy was delighted when he ran his first mile recently in just 10 minutes.

"MTF and Lt. Col. White have allowed me to continue my career in the military, and my love for cross country running," said Jeremy. "Even at 30 years old, I can out-run most of the younger personnel in my unit. It is a great feeling and I owe most of it to Dr. White, my tissue donor and MTF."

The Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, the nation's largest tissue bank, changes lives by connecting donors with surgeons and transplant recipients. As a non-profit service organization, MTF is dedicated to providing quality tissue through a commitment to excellence in education, research, recovery and care for recipients, donors and their families. Since its inception in 1987, MTF has recovered more than 60,000 donors and has distributed more than 3 million grafts for transplantation.

"MTF is privileged to have Technical Sergeant Starr represent us in the Tournament of Roses Parade," said Bruce Stroever, MTF President and CEO. "Jeremy brings honor to his country as he serves in the military, and he brings distinction and respect to the field of transplantation as a tissue recipient. We are very proud of his accomplishments."

Jeremy Starr is participating in the Donate Life Rose Parade on an individual and voluntary basis. His voluntary participation does not constitute US Air Force or Department of Defense endorsement for, sponsorship of, or preferential treatment toward MTF or its affiliates.


Source: ABC 7, Los Angeles

One Rose Parade has a special place in the hearts of many in Southern California.


Different cities all around the United States celebrate the New Year in different ways. A nearly 800 pound peach is dropped in downtown Atlanta, in Philadelphia they celebrate with the famous Mummers Parade on Broad Street and in Pasadena, Cali., more than 700,000 people line the streets to watch (and thousands more via television around the world) the Tournament of Roses Parade.

On January 1, Baltimore native Tarrence Regan-Mitchell will be honored, along with 76 other organ, eye and tissue donors who in their passing saved, healed and gave hope to thousands of people in need. Tarrence’s likeness will be transformed in a ‘floragraph’ that will adorn the Donate Life float, New Life Rises, in the 2010 Rose Parade.

Floragraphs are artistic portraits created by using spices, seeds, and other organic materials to cover a digitized photograph of the individual. The final image is astonishingly realistic, recognizable and a fitting memorial to organ, eye and tissue donors everywhere.

Tarrence became a tissue donor, at the age of 16, after tragic accident on November 5, 2007. Tarrence was a loving and giving individual, always willing to share his toys, school supplies, clothes, friendship, and love with those around him. His generous legacy was able to continue with the donation of his corneas, skin and bones.

Tamala Regan’s, Tarrence’s mother, eyes light up when she talks about her son and with every word she uses to describe him, it is known he is her hero. “I feel and see my son everyday knowing he gave the gift of life to someone else.”

The Donate Life float adds a meaningful dimension to the 2010 Rose Parade theme, A Cut Above the Rest. The New Life Rises float carries a message of hope and inspiration, just like each and every organ, eye, tissue donor and family who create a story of courage, compassion, hope and renewal.

Read more about Tarrence, and the other donors and recipients featured on the Donate Life float at w Also, don’t forget to watch the parade on Friday, January 1 at 11 am EST/8 am PST. The Rose Parade will be broadcast on ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, NBC, Travel Channel and Univision.
And don’t forget to check out
this story, which aired on December 23 on WBAL-TV. Reporter Kim Dacey interviewed Tamala Regan about what it means for her son to be honored during this year’s Rose Parade.
– Jennifer


Source: Pasadena Star News
Rose Parade update: Top LA cops to place symbolic roses on float dedicated to organ transplantation
Posted: 12/29/2009 10:42:12 AM PST

PASADENA - Los Angeles' top law enforcement officers, Sheriff Lee Baca and Deputy Police Chief Michel Moore, will join together to place dedicated roses on the Donate Life Rose Parade float, "New Life Rises," later today at the Rosemont Pavailion in Pasadena.

Their rose placements at 5 p.m. will be followed by a special dedication by California Department of Motor Vehicles Director George Valverde, according to a news release from Donate Life.

Throughout the day, other families from across the nation, and representatives of Southland hospitals and municipalities, will also places roses in honor of loved ones touched by organ, eye, and tissue donation.

Each rose is unique because it bears the individual's name and heartfelt dedication. Donate Life's seventh float entry features a phoenix, representing those who give life in their passing and the people whose lives are renewed through transplantation, the organization's release said.

The bird soars high above 24 float riders. Adorning the bird's tail feathers are 76 floragraphs - artistic portraits created with floral materials - of organ, eye and tissue donors from across the country, its release said.


Miller memorialized in Rose Parade
Monday, December 28, 2009 4:37 PM MST

Donor Alliance release

For more than 120 years, the Tournament of Roses Parade has been an American tradition.

This year, Wyoming’s organ and tissue donation community will come together to honor a local donor family whose story will have a presence on the 2010 Donate Life Rose Parade Float, New Life Rises. The float will be featured in the 121st annual Tournament of Roses Parade on Friday, Jan. 1, 2010, at 9 a.m. MST in Pasadena, Calif.New Life Rises will feature a phoenix n the mythical symbol of life coming out of death n rising into the sky, representing those who give life in their death and the people whose lives are renewed by their gifts.

The bird will soar high above 24 riders who are comprised of living donors and donor family members from across the U.S. Adorning the bird’s tail feathers are 76 floragraphsnportraits created with floral material of deceased donors who gave life to those in need.In addition, donors from across the country are memorialized in a garden of dedicated roses, with each rose vial carrying a personal message of love, hope and remembrance.

Memory of Shantel MillerDonor Alliance will sponsor a floragraph of Shantel Miller, an organ and tissue donor, who will be represented among the float’s other inspirational stories about organ and tissue donation. Miller’s family and friends gathered on Dec. 14 to place the finishing touches on her floragraph in Casper, which was shipped to Pasadena and placed on the float.

The Donate Life float’s riders and floragraph honorees represent millions of people touched by organ and tissue donation, including donor families, their deceased loved ones, living donors, transplant recipients and transplant candidates.Miller died from injuries sustained in a single-car accident on April 23, 2008, at the age of 16. She loved participating in sports, and she played the viola in band and was in the choir. After careful consideration, Miller’s mother Michelle consented to organ and tissue donation.Miller was an eight-organ donor, as well as a tissue and cornea donor. Her gifts saved and healed countless lives.

500,000 Americans benefit annuallyAccording to Donor Alliance, organ donors save the lives of more than 28,000 Americans on average each year. One-and-a-half million tissue transplants occur in the U.S. each year, and close to half a million Americans benefit from the lifesaving and healing gifts organ and tissue donors provide.

“After going through a devastating situation such as this one, we are thankful that life was able to come out of such loss,” Michelle Miller said. “We know Shantel wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”“It is truly our honor to pay tribute to Shantel and her family by placing a floragraph in her honor on the 2010 Donate Life float,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “Shantel’s family helped save and heal the lives of numerous people through their decision to donate. It is our hope that Shantel’s story will inspire other families across the country to discuss donation, then sign-up on their state donor registries.

”Wyoming residents can register their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor in the following ways:
• Online at
• At the Wyoming Department of Transportation the next time you obtain or renew your driver’s license.
• By calling (888) 256-4386.
For more information, visit


Source: Redlands Daily Facts

JESSE B. GILL Staff Writer
Posted: 12/29/2009 09:14:07 PM PST

PASADENA - Hannah Grinnan spent Tuesday cutting flowers and gluing them to a float that will be part of the Rose Parade on New Year's Day. Alongside her - the surgeon who performed her heart transplant in 1998.

Hannah, a 12-year-old from Redlands, received a heart transplant 11 days after her birth, performed by Loma Linda University Children's Hospital Dr. Leonard Bailey. On this day, the duo together affixed flowers to the Donate Life float, where Hannah will ride on the big day as the youngest of 24 organ, eye and tissue donors.

"I have waited a long time for this," Hannah said. "I am so excited because not very many people get to ride on it."
Hannah's father, Bill, said she was promised a spot on the parade float when she was old enough, That promise was made five years ago.

"Since then, she's been counting down the years and months and days until she'd be able to do it," he said. "This is a really special milestone in her life."

Hannah received her heart from Baby Trevor, who was born brain dead. Baby Trevor's mother, Kristine Clemmons, also helped Hannah and Bailey decorate the float.

Clemmons said the experience confirmed to her that she made the right choice to donate Baby Trevor's heart to save Hannah's life.
"It's amazing to see that he had a purpose - the purpose was to give her life," she said.

Of all of the heart transplant patients Bailey has had, he said he sees Hannah the most because they both live in Redlands.

Bailey said watching Hannah and Clemmons decorate the float together was symbolic of how good people can be to each other when they try.

"Organ donation is the best thing humans can do for each other to enable people to survive," Bailey said. "The transplantation process manages to close the circle on grief and reintroduces the donor's family to life."
Bill Grinnan said his family feels blessed by Bailey and Clemmons and what they did for Hannah.
"We cherish every day," he said. "We wouldn't have her without them."


Source: NBC 4
Lifeline Of Ohio Honors Donor Families

Angie Price Published: December 29, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Tuesday night at the Columbus Airport Mariott, Lifeline of Ohio honored pediatric organ and tissue donors who gave the “gift of life” in 2009.

Each of the families that attended the ceremony received a replica of a dedicated rose that will ride on the Donate Life Roase Parade Float during the Tournament of Roses Parade on Friday in Pasadena.
The Family Circle rose dedication program, which began in 2006, gives families an individual and emotional connection to the parade and the Donate Life Float. The garden features roses dedicated to donors across the country, each with a vial carrying a personal message of love, hope and remembrance.
Lifeline of Ohio estimates that more than 2900 Ohioans are waiting for organ transplants.


Source: Orange Country Register
ORANGE A year has past since Lili Ibañez's son gave her another chance at life by giving her a kidney.
On Tuesday morning, she and her son, Anthony, 20, toured the halls of the dialysis center at St. Joseph Hospital handing roses to patients undergoing treatment.
Ibañez came to the hospital in preparation for Friday's Rose Parade. The Department of Motor Vehicles examiner from Anaheim will ride aboard the Donate Life float along with 23 other organ recipients to highlight the need for organ and tissue donations – more than 100,000 people nationally are awaiting potentially life-saving organs to replace failing kidneys, livers and hearts.
Ibañez and her son, who visted the dialysis center to encourage patients and to publicize the float, went from bed to bed, offering dialysis patients a rose and asking them to sign a sweatshirt that she plans to wear as she makes her way down the 5.5-mile parade route.
Ibañez clasped the hands of patients and told them a little about her story. Then she listened to them.
She heard from a 25-year-old, who has been on dialysis for three years. And from a woman in her 70s, who has undergone treatments three times a week for 20 years.
She listened to the story of Wayne White, 72, of Yorba Linda.
"I've been coming here every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday since Dec. 3, 2003," White said.
He smiled and wished her well in the Rose Parade.
"I think it's wonderful that she is getting the message out there about the need for (organ) donations," White said. "There are a lot of people out there whose lives can be changed."
Ibañez was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2006. She continued to work at the Westminster DMV full time.
"I'm of Polynesian background, and I was really sad to hear that we are among the hardest ethnicities to find a match for," she said.
Friends and adult relatives tested to see if they were a match. No luck.
"I didn't want to turn to my son," she said. "He was only 17 at the time. And he's my only son."
But when Anthony Ibañez found out he might be able to help (the minimum age for a donor is 15), he didn't hesitate to get tested.
"It's my mom," Anthony said. "It's either she lives or she doesn't."
Mom and son had the operation Dec. 12, 2008.
Within a week, Anthony Ibañez was out at the mall. Two month's after the surgery, he was back to work playing flag football with junior-high kids at the Boys & Girls Club.
Lili Ibañez was back to work in three months.
At her job, she's not allowed to preach about the need for organ donations – which is difficult, she said, because people often make the decision at the DMV about whether to become an organ donor.
"But if I hear people debating it," she said, "I don't hesitate to share my story."
The single mother, who also has a daughter, Catherine, 18, said she dreamed of having children from a young age.
"I just never imagined that the son who I gave life to would be the one to save my life," she said.
Because Ibañez found a match so soon, she avoided dialysis.
Seeing a roomful of patients hooked up to machines and hearing patients' stories on Tuesday made her choke back tears. She was amazed how many smiled and congratulated her when she told them she'd received a kidney.
"They are congratulating me? I didn't do anything," she said. "I just was one of the lucky ones."
Ibañez said her thoughts will be with the dialysis patients as she makes the trip along the parade route. She's also encouraged knowing that a worldwide television audience of 40 million will be watching.
"It's great to get the message out there to so many people," she said. "But I also want to give those in need of a (organ) donation hope to see all of us together. We're products of successful transplantations – and getting on with life."
To become an organ, eye and tissue donor in California please visit Donate Life California
To learn how to become a donor in your state please click HERE

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Source: Visalia Times - Delta
By: Maria Ortiz-Briones & Eric Woomer

When the California Transplant Donor Network called Visalian Sunny Luna during the summer and asked her if she would "mind" riding on a float on the organization's Rose Parade float, she couldn't say no.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime," said Luna, 35, who has been involved with the organization for years.

Luna, one of at least two Tulare County residents who'll take part in the 121st Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, will use the opportunity to promote the benefits of organ donation. Luna's kidneys failed when she was shortly out of high school because of her battle with lupus; she's had three kidney transplants.

In January, Luna received a transplant from Maria de los Angeles Yepez, a pastor at the Universal Christian Church of The Salvation Army in Fresno. Yepez, 57, became a three-organ donor, saving three lives.

Luna is one of the 24 organ-transplant recipients from across the UnitedStates who will ride the float at the Rose Parade. A "floragraph" — a portrait created with flowers and other materials — featuring Yepez and other donors from across the country will be featured on the float.

"My donor gave me a new life. I am able to raise my son," Luna said. "I learned to appreciate life a little more."

Luna, her husband, Chris, and her 8-year-old son, Christopher, will leave Tuesday for Pasadena, where they will attend various events and help decorate the float.

Luna plans to wear a red sweatshirt from California State University, Fresno, her alma mater, to represent the Valley.

"It's an experience that is unforgettable," said Luna, whose husband and son will watch from the grandstands.

More Information

The "Donate Life" float is entry No. 10 and the fourth float that onlookers will see, Luna said. Information about the float is available


Source: Manchester Evening News

ALMOST 3,000 people have joined the organ donor register after an M.E.N campaign.

We told the story of brave Rachael Wakefield, pictured, who suffers from a rare lung condition. Her life is on hold until she gets a life-saving organ swap.

Rachael, 21, is one of more than 400 people waiting for a transplant in Greater Manchester. But the clock is ticking – health officials say many patients will die before an organ becomes available.

Less than a quarter of the region’s population is on the organ donor register – well below the national average. Readers were so moved by Rachael’s story that 3,000 signed up, bringing the Greater Manchester total to 633,688.

Rachael, from Dukinfield, is still waiting for the call that could change her life but is thrilled by the response to her plea.

She said: “I thought if just one person responded to my story and signed the donor register that could save so many others.

“It is overwhelming to think almost 3,000 people have signed the register in the last month and I’m really pleased by their response – it shows people really care. I’m still waiting for my call but with more people signing up every day I hope it will be soon.”

The former Droylsden Girls School pupil became ill at 14 and suffered repeated lung infections and breathlessness.

Her condition deteriorated to the extent that doctors decided there was no point in putting her on the organ donor list. She was admitted to the Willow Wood hospice in Ashton under Lyne last December where she was expected to die.

But Rachael refused to give up and has astounded medical experts with her will to live despite her lungs only operating at 15 per cent capacity.

She said: “When I was at the hospice they said I was too unwell and to enjoy last Christmas. But I just thought, that’s not good enough, I’m not having that. I’m getting on that list.”

Last month it was finally decided Rachael, who is connected to an oxygen machine 24 hours a day, should have her wish and she was added to the list. Mum Lynette, 43, and dad Philip Motterhead, 39, are also waiting anxiously for the call. Retail boss Philip said: “Obviously our main concern is Rachael but there are others. She’ll get through, I know she will.”

Pam Prescott, of UK Transplant, said: “Every day three people die while waiting for an organ transplant and research has shown that while most of us support organ donation and the overwhelming majority would take an organ if we needed it, there’s still some way to go in getting people to sign up.”

Currently 346 people from Greater Manchester are waiting for a kidney, 13 for a kidney or pancreas, four for a heart, 20 for lungs and 23 for a liver.

To register call 0300 1232323 or go to