Source: Alpena News
Twenty-year-old Joshua D. Tolan brightened the world with his smile, his personality and his generosity. In June 2009, he became a hero, saving four lives as an organ donor after an auto accident. His portrait, made of floral materials, will be one of 60 "floragraphs" of donors from across the country featured on the Donate Life Rose Parade float in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day. Tolan's father, Dan, is an Alpena native, and many family members still live in Alpena.
"This is a wonderful tribute to Joshua," said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, the sponsor of the floragraph. "Like all donors, Josh leaves a legacy of giving. His family, in the midst of immense tragedy, displayed selfless generosity that meant new life for others."
Tolans's floragraph will be displayed on the Donate Life Rose Parade float entitled "Seize the Day!"
The 2011 float entry soars with colorful kites that inspire people to share laughter, sun, wind and the visual beauty of the moment, and to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.
Through their life-changing experiences, the families of organ and tissue donors, living donors and recipients of life-saving transplants teach us all a profound lesson: to "Seize the Day!" and make the most of every moment to build dreams, friendships and memories with loved ones.
"At the hospital, when we were told that Josh was brain dead, we immediately inquired about the option of organ donation," Renelle Tolan, Joshua's mother, said. "We knew that if Josh had been able to make his own decision, he would have chosen the same option. We have been blessed by receiving letters from two of the organ recipients, and it reiterates to us that we made the right decision. Josh continues to brighten other lives even after death."
In 2010, more than 300,000 people have joined the Michigan Organ Donor Registry to document their decision to help others by becoming an organ, tissue and cornea donor. Each donor can save up to eight lives and improve the lives of 50 more through tissue donation, according to Gift of Life Michigan, the state's federally designated organ and tissue recovery organization.
To sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, visit giftoflifemichigan.org, call 800-482-4881 or visit any Secretary of State office. You will receive a red heart donor emblem for the front of your driver's license or ID card.