LOS ANGELES – A national rose dedication program titled “Making a Difference” has been launched in an effort to raise greater awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation and to encourage more individuals to become donors. The program is sponsored by Dignity Memorial in support of the Donate Life Rose Parade float that will bring powerful messages of hope and inspiration on New Year’s Day. Since 2009, Dignity Memorial, North America’s largest network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers, has been a top-tier sponsor of the Donate Life Rose Parade float.
“The Making a Difference program is a way to engage and give thanks to all of the organ procurement organizations, transplant centers, eye banks and tissue banks across the country as we come together to share our mission to save and heal lives,” said Jay Andrew, director of corporate communications at Service Corporation International. “It is a unique opportunity for people across the country to be part of the Rose Parade experience and to visibly encourage more people to become donors.”
Under this program every OPO, transplant center, eye bank and tissue bank in the country will soon be receiving a vial containing a silk rose in recognition of the positive difference they are making in their own communities in the fields of organ, eye and tissue transplantation. Accompanying the roses will be dedication tags on which personal messages can be written honoring those who have given the gift of life, received the gift of life, or are waiting to receive the gift of life through transplantation. Local events will be held across the country in support of those acts of kindness. The roses will then be placed on the Donate Life float as a way for each of these organizations to symbolically be part of the 2018 parade itself.
This year’s float, The Gift of Time, reflects the parade’s theme of “Making a Difference” by celebrating the power of kindness and the generous acts of people throughout the world who are making a positive difference in the lives of others. Perhaps no act is more emblematic of this than becoming an organ, eye or tissue donor. A single organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and improve the lives of as many as 75 more by donating their corneas and tissue.
Celebrating its 15th year of participating in the parade, the Donate Life Tournament of Roses Parade float is the centerpiece of a national effort to reach a broad audience with the simple, life-giving message that organ, eye and tissue donation saves and heals lives. Vibrant floragraphs will pay tribute to 44 donors while eight living donors and recipients will walk alongside carrying baskets of fruit and flowers in celebration of a renewed life.
“Nationally there are over 116,000 people waiting to receive a lifesaving heart, liver, lung, kidney or pancreas transplant; but there are simply not enough donors to meet the growing need,” said Tom Mone, chairman of the Donate Life Rose Parade float committee and CEO of OneLegacy, the nonprofit organ, eye and tissue recovery organization serving the greater Los Angeles area. “More than 35,000 lifesaving transplants were performed in the United States last year, but tragically 20 people still die each day while waiting for a lifesaving organ donation. It is our hope that our float calls attention to this message and motivates individuals from around the world to register to be a donor.”
The Donate Life Rose Parade float is produced by OneLegacy and is made possible thanks to over 50 sponsoring donation, transplant, healthcare and family care organizations, and individuals who help make donation and transplant possible across the country.