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Mother of Colorado organ donor to encourage all Americans to register as donors in 2015 Rose Parade

Amy Johnson and her daughter's liver recipient, Ron, passed out roses to patients waiting for a lifesaving transplant at University of Colorado Hospital on Dec. 9.

Englewood, Colo. mother Amy Johnson lost her daughter Nicole Scott to a fatal car accident in 2001. Amy made the decision to donate Nicole’s organs, which in turn saved the lives of three people. Now, Amy is gearing up to join 29 others from around the country as a float rider aboard the twelfth annual Donate Life Float in the nationally televised Rose Parade on January 1 in Pasadena, CA. The 2015 Donate Life float will inspire viewers worldwide to save and heal lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.

Nicole was a vivacious, passionate 15-year-old, a gifted athlete and enjoyed the role of social coordinator among her friends. She was involved in a fatal car accident on June 4, 2001. Amidst the devastation of losing a child, Nicole’s mother Amy knew that her generous daughter would have done anything to help someone in need and agreed to organ donation.

Thanks to Nicole’s gifts, three people were given a second chance at life. Amy has met all three and has formed a bond with each: a Utah woman who received Nicole’s heart; a Colorado man who received Nicole’s liver; and a New York woman who received Nicole’s kidney. Amy has shared especially poignant moments with the recipient of Nicole’s heart, Mandee Hyer: last year, Amy and her husband even helped to escort Mandee down the aisle at her wedding.

“I have learned a lot. Comfort can come from tragedy. One family’s loss can help other families grow. Just because someone is gone doesn’t mean they’ll be forgotten. And you never know when your life can change forever,” Amy said.

Amy’s participation in the parade is sponsored by Donor Alliance, the organ and tissue procurement agency for Colorado and most of Wyoming. The organization has funded float riders aboard the Donate Life float for more than a decade.

“We are very proud to share Amy’s story of courage and generosity in the face of the most painful loss with a global audience at the Rose Parade,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “We are confident that Amy’s powerful message, paired with the success stories of Nicole’s recipients, will inspire people in Colorado and around the country to register to give the gift of life by joining their state donor registries.”

The 2015 Donate Life Rose Parade float, The Never-Ending Story, will feature beautiful butterflies emerging from an open book, representing the lives transformed by organ, eye and tissue donors. The butterflies ascend above 72 volumes adorned with floragraph portraits of deceased donors whose legacies are nurtured by their loved ones. Walking alongside the float will be 12 living organ donors whose stories have become intertwined with those of their recipients. Seated among thousands of dedicated roses are 30 riders representing transplant recipients who celebrate the new chapters of their lives made possible only by the generosity of donors and donor family members who ride in remembrance of their loved ones. The Donate Life float and its honored participants are the centerpiece of a national campaign that leads up to the 2015 Rose Parade, themed “Inspiring Stories.”

Hospital CEOs throughout Colorado are also showing their support of the Donate Life Rose Parade float, by crafting personal messages in appreciation of organ, eye and tissue donors. These messages, along with those from other hospital CEOs around the country, will be displayed on the float. Participating Colorado hospitals include: St. Anthony Hospital, University of Colorado Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Lutheran Medical Center, Good Samaritan Medical Center, Parkview Medical Center, Medical Center of the Rockies, Poudre Valley Hospital, Vail Valley Medical Center, Mckee Medical Center, Northern Colorado Medical Center, Fort Collins Medical Center, Southwest Memorial Hospital, Colorado Acute Long Term Hospital, Melissa Memorial Hospital, Pioneers Medical Center, The Memorial Hospital at Craig, Rio Grand Hospital and Family Health West Hospital.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses is a volunteer organization that annually hosts the Rose Parade®presented by Honda, Rose Bowl Game® presented by VIZIO and various associated events. The 126th Rose Parade presented by Honda, themed “Inspiring Stories,” will take place Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, at 8 a.m. (PST) and will be televised live by broadcast partners ABC, NBC, HGTV, Hallmark Channel, Univision and more. Please check your local broadcast listings for more information. For additional information on the Tournament of Roses please visit the official website at www.tournamentofroses.com.

Coloradans can register their decisions to be organ, eye and tissue donors in the following ways:

  • Online at DonateLifeColorado.org
  • At the Driver’s License Office the next time you obtain or renew your driver’s license
  • By calling 1-888-256-4386