Transplant Recipient Stories
This year, we are honored to have Jeff Leone represent us at the 129th Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. Jeff is traveling from Denver to escort the 15th annual Donate Life Rose Parade float on January 1. Jeff will be joined by 24 other individuals from around the country whose lives have also been impacted by donation and transplantation. The 2018 Donate Life float will inspire viewers worldwide to save and heal lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.
A bruised kidney in 1984 led Jeff to the doctor where he eventually learned he had kidney disease. Twelve years later, he entered end-stage kidney failure and began dialysis. In 1999 Jeff received his first transplant. Jeff’s donor was Christopher Mendoza. His mother, Lena, had respected her son’s wishes to donate his organs after he was tragically killed in a car accident. Christopher’s gift allowed Jeff to fulfill his dream of becoming a high school science teacher – a career he enjoyed in the Denver public school system for 13 years until he again approached end-stage kidney failure.
Even though she had not previously met the requirements, Jeff’s wife Robyn was a suitable match for his second transplant thanks to advances in medical technology. She gave him a kidney in 2013. Since his second transplant, Jeff fulfills his passion for science and teaching as a Transplantation Science Educator – he teaches the science behind and importance of donation and transplantation to thousands of young people across Colorado and Wyoming each year.
The 129th Rose Parade will start at 8 a.m. PST on January 1, 2018 and be broadcast live in the U.S. by broadcast partners ABC, NBC, HGTV, Hallmark Channel, Univision and more. Check local broadcast listings for more information. For more information about the 2017 Teammates in Life Donate Life Rose Parade Float, visit http://www.donatelifefloat.org.
Colorado and Wyoming residents can register their decision to be donors by saying ‘yes’ each time they obtain or renew a driver license or state ID, or at www.DonateLifeColorado.org or www.DonateLifeWyoming.org anytime.