Donation Essentials Blog

Introducing a Colorado hero at the 2023 Rose Parade®

Tanner Denton had a tremendously big heart. Tanner was best known in his hometown of Grand Junction, CO as a baseball player, but that was just a small part of why he was loved by so many. He will be adorned on the Donate Life float at the 2023 Rose Parade.

Tanner Denton and Allison VogelTanner was one of the most loving people many had ever known. He was a family man that enjoyed spending time with the ones he loved traveling, cheering on his favorite Colorado sports teams and going to concerts, always taking care of those in need. He advocated and cared for those experiencing homelessness. Tanner had a soft spot in his heart for animals and would help find them forever homes. He danced to the beat of his own drum and had a true zest for life.

Tanner was just 23 when he passed away in a tragic accident in August 2016.

As a passionate advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation, Tanner’s family knew he was a registered donor. Just a few months before his car accident, he had a conversation with his family letting them know he was a registered donor. He also made sure they were also all donors.

In the days and months that followed Tanner’s death, his legacy of helping others continued through organ, eye and tissue donation. He helped save the lives of two people through kidney donation. Tanner’s corneas also helped a woman in Ireland restore her sight. He also enabled another young man to play baseball again after receiving some of Tanner’s tissue. The ripple effect from the way Tanner lived his life is far reaching and it continues. Through his gift of life and a legacy of kindness, he has saved and healed 122 lives.

To Tanner’s family, knowing how much he’s helped others through his gifts of life has given them strength. Knowing Tanner is gone but that he was still able to help and even save the lives of others was a bright spot through their darkest of days.

Tanner’s Memorial Floral Portrait on Donate Life 2023 Rose Parade ® Float

Floragraph Finishing EventThe Donate Life community is celebrating its 20th year of participation in the iconic Rose Parade New Year’s Day celebrations. This has made the Donate Life 2023 Rose Parade float the world’s most visible campaign to inspire donation. Tanner’s floragraph will be among 44 floral memorial portraits of organ, eye and tissue donors from across the country that will adorn the float.

Allison Vogel, Tanner’s mom and her family are thrilled that Tanner is being honored this year in a floragraph. In Tanner’s honor, and because organ, eye and tissue donation was so important to him, Allison shares his story to continue spreading awareness of the importance of donation and transplantation. Tanner’s family gathered at the Suplizio Stocker Stadium in November. Here, they put the finishing touches on his floragraph at an event that will honor his life and legacy.

The incredible impacts of donation and transplantation are profound, and the effects spread far and wide,” said Jennifer Prinz, president and CEO of Donor Alliance, which is sponsoring Denton’s floragraph. Donor Alliance is the federally designated, non-profit organ procurement organization serving Colorado and most of Wyoming. “With participants from across the country, the float is a visual representation of the lives touched by organ, eye and tissue donation. It’s an honor to pay tribute to Tanner and his legacy this year, and we are incredibly grateful to his family for sharing their story. With nearly 1,500 people in Colorado waiting for a lifesaving transplant, we are hopeful that Tanner’s story will inspire Coloradans and people across the country to register to be donors.”

Join us and tune in to the 2023 Rose Parade ® on January 2

Lifting Each Other UpTanner is a wonderful example of this year’s theme, Lifting Each Other Up. It celebrates the power of organ, eye and tissue donation, with donors and recipients working together to support one another. A spectacular Chinese street dragon is the centerpiece of the float. The colorful dragon will be winding through flowering trees, lanterns and fans, and be emblazoned with the floragraphs, which represent those, like Tanner, who have given the gift of life.

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