LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This morning the 2019 Donate Life float, “Rhythm of the Heart,” celebrated its 16th year in the Rose Parade honoring those who have been touched by the power of organ, eye and tissue donation. Featuring exotic flowers from around the world, as well as musical instruments, masks and headdresses from different African nations, the float traveled the parade route just ahead of the car of 2019 Tournament of Roses President Gerald Freeny, who is a two-time organ recipient and a two-time cancer survivor. Freeny envisioned “The Melody of Life” as the theme for the 130th Rose Parade to celebrate the power of music, the universal language.
“It was exciting to see the Rose Parade floats inspired by this theme, especially one sponsored by a group that is as understandably near and dear to my heart as Donate Life,” said Freeny. “Music has been particularly important to me because it has helped me overcome a number of serious health issues including two organ transplants and cancer. Music has the ability to soothe and heal. It can just turn a situation from bad to good.”
The 2019 Donate Life float’s musical theme, “Baba Yetu,” was interpreted by Alex Boyé, who was present over the weekend and at a special New Year’s Eve celebration sharing his powerful voice and moving songs with the float’s honorees and their families.
THE POWER OF TISSUE DONATION
The lives of four honorees this year were transformed and healed thanks to tissue donation. This year’s tissue recipients featured on the float include:
- Bill Borbeau, sponsored by the American Association of Tissue Banks, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and former law enforcement officer. Bill received skin tissue to repair his upper arm, which was damaged after an auto accident.
- Cindricka Arrington, sponsored by Medtronics, is a program manager from Mississippi who received bone grafts during spiral fusion surgery after being diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy.
- Molly Blackwood, a retired nurse from Wisconsin, sponsored by RTI Donor Services. Molly received a bone graft during spinal fusion surgery to repair her spine.
- Madelyn Nicpon from New York, sponsored by AxoGen, is a 17-year-old high school senior who received a nerve allograft to repair her lingual nerve, which was damaged during a procedure to remove her wisdom teeth.
- Donna Pierce, sponsored by CryoLife, is a personal trainer from Maryland who received a lifesaving heart valve transplant after suffering from a congenital heart condition for several years.
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 lifesaving 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.
ADDITIONAL DONATE LIFE FLOAT FACTS
- Forty-four families of deceased donors participated in several events beginning in October through mid-December to decorate and put the finishing touches on their loved ones’ floragraph portraits at local floragraph finishing events across the country.
- More than 2,500 Donate Life volunteers provided over 10,000 decoration hours to complete the float.
- Exotic and tropical floral designs feature materials imported directly from Africa.
- Over 25,000 rich and vibrant orange Santana and Verano roses complete the deck gardens, including nearly 4,000 individually dedicated roses to honor organ, eye and tissue donors.
The Donate Life Rose 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 float is produced by OneLegacy, the nation’s largest organ, eye and tissue procurement organization, and is made possible thanks to over 31 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.