Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Neighborhoods
  3. Community Issues

Donate Life 2014 Rose Parade float brings volunteers with a passion

See also

Some people decorate Rose Parade floats for the fun of it, or as part of the Pasadena experience, or as part of a service organization. Donate Life volunteers do it because they have a passion to spread the word about organ donations. We talked with two of those volunteers, Debbie Martin and Joy Weller at Phoenix Decorating Company’s Rosemont Pavilion on Friday.

The Donate Life Rose Parade Float organization, which does receive funds from Donate Life to build the float, recruits volunteers from across the country, Europe, and even as far away as Asia. “A group comes from Taiwan every year and brings a transplant [recipient] with them,” Martin said.

The project is so popular with employees of the California DMV, which actively promotes organ donation, that the various offices throughout the state have lotteries to choose who will come to put on the dry materials on Saturdays in December, Martin shared.

Martin and Weller come because both had husbands who received heart transplants. They met in a support group at Loma Linda University Medical Center, and have volunteered so consistently that they now help to manage the other volunteers.

The float organization supplies the flat boxes used to gather the snipped floral material and the plastic cups that hold white glue to all the Phoenix decorators. This brought some confusion, as volunteers from other floats would come to their glue station for refills. Martin shared how Phoenix art director Lyn Lofthouse had a great time humorously letting the folks know just where not to get their glue.

Donate Life has been in the Rose Parade since 2004 and has won several awards. The 2014 Float, “Light Up the World,” features an eclectic collection of giant lanterns that display floragraphs of organ donors. Riders and walkers are organ recipients, donors, or family members of organ donors.

Like this story?
Columnists are not notified of comments via Disqus, so if you have a question or would like a reply to your comment, please post on Facebook at All Things Rose Parade or email The theme of the 125th Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2014 is “Dreams Come True.” Subscribe to Tournament of Roses Examiner by clicking the "Subscribe" link for the latest news and for upcoming announcements.



  • Dead babies found
    Seven dead babies were found in Utah resident Megan Huntsman's old home
    Shocking Discovery
  • Kendall Jenner
    Get the Coachella looks: Kendall Jenner’s nose ring, green hair and edgy nails
    Coachella Look
  • Dog's Easter basket
    How to fill your dog’s Easter basket with the perfect toys
    Easter Basket
  • Rabbit owners
    Bringing home the bunny: Important information for rabbit owners
    7 Photos
  • Haunted island
    The world’s most haunted island may soon be the most haunted luxury resort
    Haunted Resort
  • Sunken ferry
    Search continues for missing passengers after a ferry sinks off the South Korean coast
    Sunken Ferry

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!