Valerie Fourtunia, mother of tissue donors Mike and Jeremy, will ride the Donate Life float in recognition of the thousands of individuals who donate tissue each year. Valerie’s trip to Pasadena is sponsored by RTI Donor Services, which is a founding sponsor and one of more than 100 associations across the nation—including organ and tissue recovery organizations, industry partners, transplant centers and transplant recipient groups—supporting the float project. This is RTI’s ninth consecutive year supporting the program.
Valerie’s son Mike was 22 years old when he was involved in a fatal car accident. “Mike, or ‘Mikey’ to me, was born ready to embrace life,” Valerie said. “He was such an adventurer, full of love, always ready for the next thrill.”
Mike was a natural athlete. In his early years, at the age of nine, he was a state champion in karate. In junior high and high school he played football, basketball and track and according to his mother, was an incredible runner. When Mike was 15, he tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in a basketball game and was a recipient of donor tissue.