For the eighth year, Donate Life will sponsor a float in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. This year, two families from the Rocky Mountain region will travel to Pasadena and ride on the 2011 Donate Life float, Seize the Day!, in an effort to heighten awareness about tissue donation. The float will include organ and tissue transplant recipients, living donors and family members of deceased donors from around the country, joined together in celebration and remembrance of the spectacular gift of life.
In memory of her daughter Kathleen, who was a Denver resident, Patricia Thomas, of Cody, Wyoming, is proud to ride the float in commemoration of her daughter’s gifts of life that included donated corneas, heart valves, as well as bone and skin grafts. Thomas’ participation in the parade is sponsored by Donor Alliance, the federally-designated, non-profit organ procurement organization serving Colorado and most of Wyoming.
Joining Thomas aboard the float will be 19-year-old Aurora, Colorado native, Parker Simpson. In 2006, Simpson was an active, athletic and academically ambitious high school sophomore when a sports injury to his ankle began a trying medical journey that would test his and his family’s resolve for years to come. Along the way infections, back surgery, possible amputation and Stage IV bone cancer in his arm overshadowed his prospects for a normal teenage life. In order to save his cancer-ridden arm, Simpson’s shoulder and a large part of his humerus were replaced with an allograft bone transplant from a deceased donor. The generosity of the tissue donor allowed Parker to resume his active life.
AlloSource, one of the nation’s largest non-profit providers of skin, bone and soft tissue allografts for use in surgical procedures, will sponsor Simpson’s participation in the parade and send along several employees to watch him and Thomas ride aboard the Donate Life float.
Check your local listings for Parade coverage, which starts at 8 AM PST this Saturday, January 1!