SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Seattle resident Joshua Thomas Waleryszak is one of 81 individuals across the country to be honored for his organ donation at this year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., with a floragraph of Joshua included in the Donate Life float featured in the 125th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2014.
A floragraph—unique to the Donate Life float in the Rose Parade—is a portrait representation of an individual made of seeds and other organic material.
Joshua died on Aug. 23, 1993, at the age of 12 due to a series of complications related to developmental disabilities. His parents donated his kidneys and liver, providing life-saving support to three organ recipients.
Forest Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery and the Dignity Memorial® providers of Seattle nominated Joshua for the honor and are sponsoring his participation in the Rose Parade.
To allow family, friends and other organ-donation supporters in the community to celebrate Joshua, Forest Lawn will host a floragraph finishing event on Dec. 12, 2014, from 5 - 7 p.m. at its funeral home. Joshua’s mother, Judy Waleryszak, will fill in the remaining pieces of Joshua’s portrait made of seeds and other natural materials. The completed floragraph will be sent to Pasadena to be featured in the parade.
“We are honored to be able to commemorate Joshua’s life and the choice his family made to help those in need,” said Keith Baumgardner, area director of the Dignity Memorial providers in Seattle. “Working in the funeral industry, we value the significance of memorializing loved ones, and we are proud to have the opportunity to pay tribute to Joshua and his gift of life.”
Joshua’s father, Tom Waleryszak, was also an organ donor, and passed away in October of this year.
Forest Lawn’s annual holiday remembrance ceremony will follow the floragraph decorating event. The ceremony is a time to honor those who have passed throughout the year. This year’s service features noted grief expert Dr. Darcie Sims, who will give guidance on managing sadness and grief, which are often exacerbated during the holiday season.
For more than 120 years, the Tournament of Roses Parade has been an American tradition. The Dignity Memorial network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers is joining Donate Life’s national campaign to celebrate and honor the lifesaving gifts of organ, eye and tissue donation as part of Donate Life’s 2014 Rose Parade Float, Light Up the World.
Light Up the World features a festival of lanterns illuminating 30 riders — all organ and tissue transplant recipients — and 12 living organ donors walking alongside to demonstrate their ongoing vitality. Five enormous lamps are adorned with 81 memorial floragraph portraits of deceased donors, whose legacies of life shine brightly.
In addition, donors across the country are memorialized in a garden of dedicated roses, with each rose vial carrying a personal message of love, hope and remembrance.
The Donate Life float’s riders, walkers 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. Riders, walkers and floragraph honorees are individually sponsored by Official Partners who support the Donate Life Rose Parade financially.
Editorial note: Judy Waleryszak will be available for interview at the event Thursday evening.
About Forest Lawn Funeral Home and Cemetery and the Dignity Memorial Network
Forest Lawn Funeral Home and Cemetery is a proud Dignity Memorial provider in Seattle. The Dignity Memorial network of more than 1,800 funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers is North America’s most trusted resource for funeral and memorialization services. Dignity Memorial providers offer an unmatched combination of products and locations serving families with care, integrity, respect and service excellence. For more information, please visit www.forestlawnseattle.com.