Two Coloradans that received gifts of life-saving and life-healing organ and tissue transplants will be among 30 individuals from around the country riding aboard the eleventh annual Donate Life Float in the nationally televised Rose Parade on January 1 in Pasadena, CA. The 2014 Donate Life float, Light Up the World, will inspire viewers worldwide to save and heal lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.
Connor Randall of Arvada, Colo., received his first heart before he learned to walk after being diagnosed with a deadly heart disease at just three months old. Ten years later he received his second heart before he started eighth grade. Today, he is an active 22-year-old senior at Regis University studying economics and politics. Randall’s participation in the parade is sponsored by Donor Alliance, the federally designated, non-profit organ procurement organization serving Colorado and most of Wyoming.
Powerfully aware that he is alive due to the generosity of two donors and their families, Randall is a longtime advocate for the cause of organ and tissue donation. Randall is honored to share his Rose Parade experience with his family. “We didn’t always have that future to look forward to, but now we do. And it’s a big deal,” he said.
Joining Randall aboard the float will be 30-year-old Grand Junction, Colo., resident David Jenkins. A workday just like any other turned life changing when Jenkins had an on-the-job accident in 2007 that resulted in the amputation of his right leg and a severe injury to his left. Doctors used allograft bone donated from a deceased donor, as well as muscle and skin from David’s right thigh, to save his left leg. The procedure was successful, and David has since returned to his job and enjoys fishing, hiking, golfing and coaching his son’s baseball team. David knows that the gracious act of his donor made it possible for him to thrive.
“David Jenkins will put a face on the story of tissue donation and transplantation, which is still lesser understood than organ transplantation, but can have life-saving and life-enhancing benefits” said Thomas Cycyota, president and CEO of AlloSource, which is sponsoring Jenkins’ participation in the parade. AlloSource, based in Centennial, Colo., is one of the nation’s largest non-profit providers of skin, bone and soft tissue allografts for use in surgical procedures. “The Donate Life Float is a grand tradition in the landmark Rose Parade, and we are proud to once again send a representative from Colorado to be a part of it.”
“Each year for the past nine we have carefully selected a Donate Life Float participant who we feel can best give a strong voice to the cause of donation in front of a global audience at the Rose Parade,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “We know that Connor Randall’s story of survival and success will inspire people in Colorado and beyond to register to give the gift of life by joining their state donor registries.”
The 2014 Donate Life Rose Parade Float entry features a festival of lanterns illuminating 30 riders—all organ and tissue transplant recipients—and 12 living organ donors walking alongside to demonstrate their ongoing vitality. The float’s five enormous lanterns are adorned with 72 memorial floragraph portraits of deceased donors whose legacies of life shine brightly. The riders are seated throughout a dedication garden filled with thousands of roses bearing personal messages of love, hope and remembrance.
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 125th Rose Parade presented by Honda, themed “Dreams Come True,” will take place Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, at 8 a.m. (PST) featuring majestic floral floats, high-stepping equestrian units and spirited marching bands. Following the parade, the 100th Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO will kick off at 2:10 p.m. and feature an exciting match-up between two of the top collegiate football teams in the nation. 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