Source: KPIC News
ROSEBURG, Ore. -- When the Rose Bowl Parade heads through Pasadena, California on New Years Day, a Roseburg family will be paying close attention to one of the floats in particular, as it will honor a loved one who has given life to others.
Twana Phelps' sister, Serina Scheler, died in a motor vehicle accident in 1997. Several of her organs were donated at the time.
Now, 13 years later, Phelps, along with her mother, René Whitaker, was invited to go to Pasadena and build a floragraph of her daughter on the Donate Life float. A floragraph is a memorial portrait crafted from floral and organic material.
They were thrilled to honor her. "I said "absolutely," because anything that I can do for Donate Life, I'm so willing," said Whitaker. "So, they paid our way, we went down, Twana and I worked together on this floragraph and it was a lot of fun."
Twana says she was excited to do anything to help get the word out about donating organs.
"Part of the reason that we've become more involved with Donate Life, was because we want people to be more aware of how beneficial it is," said Twana. "You don't have to be a full donor, even donating blood can save lives. So, anything you can donate, whether you choose to donate organs and tissue when you pass away, or if you're still around and can donate blood, it really does make a huge difference."
They got to meet the people who are living because of Serina's gift, and immediately had a connection with the them. "Through Serina, they live. I've met the lady, Virginia, that has her heart, and I've met the guy that has her kidney, he lives in Salem, she lives in Wyoming, and they're amazing people," said Whitaker.
Twana told KPIC News, "I think that anyone who could choose to be a donor, should, if they have any thought of doing it, go do it. Don't wait, it's hard to make that decision at the time if you don't decide before."
The two women helped decorate the float, and it took them about seven hours to complete.
There are 60 of the floragraphs on the float, which you will likely be able to see Rose Bowl Parade.
Phelps and Whitaker are hoping to start a Donate Life chapter in Roseburg. Right now, the closest one is in Eugene.