Four Young Lives Changed Thanks to Tissue and Organ Donation: Recipients to be Featured on Donate Life’s 2018 Rose Parade Float

Youth Stories Highlight the Life-Changing Power of Bone and Musculoskeletal Tissue Grafts as Well as the Lifesaving Power of Organ Donation

LOS ANGELES--()--Four youths whose lives were changed forever thanks to the generosity of others through tissue and organ donation will be among the participants on the Donate Life Rose Parade® float on January 1, 2018, in Pasadena.

“The theme for this year’s parade is ‘Making a Difference’; and young recipients like Macy Alexander-Childs, Dylan Harvey, Kelsea McKinley and Peter “P.J.” Williams are living examples of how the generous acts of people throughout the world are making a positive difference in the lives of others,” said Donate Life Rose Parade Manager Kathleen Hostert. “Perhaps no act is more emblematic of this than becoming an organ, eye or tissue donor.”

Three of these youths received a life-changing tissue donation that allowed them to regain mobility, heal and maintain normal growth of their body. Thanks to tissue donors millions of people are healed every year, and thousands of lives are saved. Tissue from one single donor can touch the lives of more than 75 people. Some of the tissues that can be donated include life-saving tissues such as heart valves and skin grafts for burn survivors. Other tissues that are crucial to help heal and restore mobility include bone, ligament and nerve grafts, among others.

“Having the opportunity to spend time with this group of young people who are now able to live full and active lives thanks to their donors’ selfless gifts is a wonderful reminder of why our work at American Association of Tissue Banks is so important,” said AATB President and CEO Frank Wilton. “Our accredited banks are ‘Making a Difference’ every day by working to ensure that there is an adequate supply of safe, high-quality tissue available for recipients like P.J., Dylan and Kelsea.”

P.J. Williams, 17, was diagnosed with bone cancer in his tibia at just 12 years of age. Even though treatments and chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic were able to eliminate 97 percent of the tumor, P.J.’s lower leg was still going to have to be amputated. However, P.J.’s medical team decided to use donated bone to rebuild and save P.J.’s leg. Thanks to his treatment and donated musculoskeletal tissue, P.J. is living life like a normal teenager. P.J. recently registered as an organ, eye and tissue donor and thinks about the donor that changed his life all the time. His presence in the parade is sponsored by American Association of Tissue Banks in partnership with Lifebanc.

Dylan Harvey, 19, was a sophomore in high school when he was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and spent several weeks in the ICU undergoing multiple surgeries to repair injuries to his left arm and right leg. Once stabilized, however, Dylan was unable to move most of his left arm due to significant nerve damage. Physicians suggested his arm may need to be amputated. In 2015 his damaged nerve tissue was replaced with donated tissue. Dylan’s nerves regenerated, restoring function and sensation to his arm. Today Dylan helps his father run an electronics business and is currently pursuing acting and filmmaking classes. His participation in the parade is sponsored by AxoGen Corporation.

Kelsea McKinley, 15, was an active 8-year-old when she was diagnosed with scoliosis. To slow its progression, she wore a back brace 24 hours a day for two years until the disease progressed to the point where the curvature of her spine was affecting her organs and overall health. She had surgery two years later to straighten her back with rods and screws as well as donated tissue (by Medtronic who is sponsoring her Rose Parade participation) to aid in her recovery. After nearly a year, she made a full recovery and is currently a sophomore in high school in Las Vegas.

Macy Alexander-Childs, 10, received a small intestine transplant in 2008, just six days short of her first birthday. She and her family have devoted their time since she was five years old to raise awareness of the need for donation across Western New York. Working with Unyts, who is sponsoring her Rose Parade participation, she has engaged the Girl Scouts in getting involved in the “Gift of Life” mission; and she has shared her story in public service announcements. Macy attended her first Transplant Games in 2016 as a member of Team Buffalo and recently ran her first 5K with Girls on the Run.

Celebrating its 15th year of participating in the parade, the Donate Life Tournament of Roses Parade® float is the centerpiece of a national effort to reach a broad audience with the simple, life-giving message that organ, eye and tissue donation saves and heals lives.

The Donate Life Rose Parade® float is produced by OneLegacy and is made possible thanks to over 50 sponsoring donation, transplant, healthcare, and family care organizations and individuals who help make donation and transplant possible across the country.

About Donate Life America

Donate Life America is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and state teams across the United States committed to increasing organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life America manages and promotes the national brand for donation, Donate Life, and assists Donate Life State Teams and national partners in facilitating high-performing donor registries; developing and executing effective multi-media donor education programs; and motivating the American public to register now as organ, eye and tissue donors. Register today by visiting DonateLife.net.

About American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB)

AATB is one of the only national tissue banking organizations in the United States, and its membership totals more than 125 accredited tissue banks and 2,000 individual members. To learn more about AATB, please visit www.AATB.org.

About AxoGen Corporation

AxoGen is the leading company focused specifically on the science, development and commercialization of technologies for peripheral nerve regeneration and repair. Learn more at https://www.axogeninc.com/about-axogen/about-axogen.

About Medtronic

As a global leader in medical technology, services and solutions, Medtronic improves the health and lives of millions of people each year. Learn more at Medtronic.com.

About Unyts

Unyts is among the leading procurement organizations in the United States and is one of the only eight centers nationwide to house organ, tissue and eye procurement in one location. Learn more at http://www.unyts.org/about-us/media-guide.

Contacts

For OneLegacy
Ross Goldberg, 818-597-8453, x-1
ross@kevinross.net
or
OneLegacy
Tania Llavaneras, 213-503-9285
tllavaneras@onelegacy.org

Release Summary

Four youths whose lives were forever changed thanks to the generosity of tissue & organ donation will participant on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float

Contacts

For OneLegacy
Ross Goldberg, 818-597-8453, x-1
ross@kevinross.net
or
OneLegacy
Tania Llavaneras, 213-503-9285
tllavaneras@onelegacy.org