LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eight local donors and their families who said “yes” to organ, eye and tissue donation will be honored with unique floral portraits, called floragraphs, on the 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade float. These floral portraits were carefully decorated by each of the local families, along with volunteer artists, in late October and will be finalized in the days leading up to the 131st Rose Parade®.
Celebrating 17 years, the 2020 Donate Life float, “Light in the Darkness,” 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 local honorees represented on the 2020 Donate Life float include OneLegacy honorees Brody Fleming, Javier Guevara, Matthew Kimo Householder, Mike McKay, Luis Angel Mendoza and Anthony Villahermosa; JJ’s Legacy honoree, Nathan Nicholas Street, and Sallop and Zenith Insurance in partnership with Donor Network West’s honoree, Michael Balsley-Rodriguez.
Brody Fleming was a child model from Laguna Beach who graced the cover of several magazines. As an adult, he worked as a first responder in Texas until March 8, 2012, when he suffered a massive stroke at age 24. Brody was a registered donor and his organs, tissue and corneas saved and healed over 100 people. His mother, Joy Bradley, volunteers her time as a OneLegacy Ambassador to honor Brody.
Javier Guevara from Los Angeles enjoyed cooking and spending time with family. Diagnosed with stage 5 kidney failure after long-term diabetes, he was on dialysis for five years. Javier died at the age of 47 while waiting for a transplant. He was a registered donor, and his gift of tissue helped more than 30 people. Javier’s wife and daughter have been active OneLegacy Ambassadors for seven years to honor his memory.
Matthew Kimo Householder from West Covina was born in 1984. Even though he was challenged with Tourette’s syndrome and ADD, Kimo was a risk taker who loved sports. On Nov. 19, 2017, his tragic death turned into the gift of life to five others when his family said “yes” to donation. His mom, Linda Tyer, has been an active OneLegacy Ambassador since 2017.
A longtime mountain resident, Mike McKay from Wrightwood was a natural outdoor athlete who played soccer, enjoyed bike racing and loved skiing. Mike died at age 23 of injuries sustained in an avalanche. He was a registered donor, and his gift of life saved several others. To honor his memory, Mike’s family established a “Live Life” Scholarship program.
Luis Angel Mendoza from Phelan was born in Mexico; and since he was 12, he worked hard to provide for his family. In 2001 Luis moved to California. He was a loving husband and a great father. At the age of 30, a tragic accident took Luis’ life. His wife said “yes” to donation, and his heart saved a man’s life. Today his wife, Luz Mendoza, volunteers her time as a OneLegacy Ambassador.
Anthony Villahermosa, a father of three from Harbor City, California, was a compassionate man who enjoyed working with children, acting as a coach for two of his sons’ football teams. Anthony passed away suddenly at the age of 32; and his heart, kidneys and lungs saved several grateful recipients. His mother, Gayle Henry, now volunteers her time as a OneLegacy Ambassador.
JJ’s Legacy Honoree
Nathan Nicholas Street had a deep love for his family and a smile that lit up a room. Diagnosed with DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) a highly aggressive brain tumor in 2014 at age 7, Nathan battled against the disease for 13 months until passing in 2015 at age 8. Upon his death, Nathan’s parents donated his tumor tissue to research; and his cell line has been used in numerous research studies across the globe.
Sallop and Zenith Insurance, in partnership with Donor Network West
Michael Balsley-Rodriguez’s promise of a bright future came to a sudden end in 2017 after succumbing to an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot. He was an energetic boy from Stockton who loved dogs, video games and pranks. He was also an avid fan of the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco Giants, played youth football, and dreamt of becoming a player and coach for the Oregon Ducks. Michael saved five individuals through the donation of his heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and pancreas.
The Donate Life Rose Parade float, produced by OneLegacy, is made possible thanks to more than 45 sponsors. The 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade float will include 70 participants, including 44 floragraphs to honor deceased donors around the country; 18 riders who are organ, eye or tissue recipients; and eight walkers who are living donors or recipients.
The 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade float, “Light in the Darkness,” will highlight the power of unity, light and love as celebrated during Southeast Asia’s Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, a celebration of light shining in the darkness. The many lives touched by donation embody the hope inherent in this festival.
As the world’s most visible campaign to inspire organ, eye and tissue donation, the Donate Life Rose Parade float inspires viewers to help the over 1 million people in need of organ, eye or tissue transplants each year. Register today to become an organ, eye or tissue donor by visiting DonateLife.net.