One of the most emotional experiences in any Rose Parade is watching the Donate Life float glide by. Dozens of memorial floragraphs depicting organ donors who lost their lives are embedded on the float.
The 2014 Donate Life float, “Light Up the World,” won the Theme Trophy for Excellence In Presenting the Parade Theme, which was “Dreams Come True.” Five brilliantly colored lanterns were chosen by designer Dave Pittman of Phoenix Decorating Company to illumine the 30 riders, who are organ or tissue recipients, and the 12 walkers who are living kidney donors.
“Individuals and families touched by organ and tissue donation and transplantation shine a light on us all,” the company states. “Transplant recipients radiate with gratitude and renewed life thanks to the gifts of organ, eye and tissue donors; families of deceased donors rekindle their spirits by carrying on their loved ones’ dreams; and registered donors are beacons of hope to patients who aspire to live longer, fuller lives.”
Donate Life float sponsors and participants encourage parade viewers to save lives by registering in their states to be organ, eye and tissue donors and donating blood in their communities.
Details on the float’s flowering are in the list attached to this article.
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‘Light Up the World’
For many people, the Rose Parade theme of “Dreams Come True” is fulfilled in a lengthened life or a life remembered through organ and tissue donation. The Donate Life float displayed five lanterns studded with floragraphs of 81 donors. The second and fourth lamps had flickering “flames” powered by tri-rotors and decorated in orange and yellow dried petals.
Riders were seated throughout a dedication garden filled with more than 5,000 roses, each with a personal message attached. The notes, dedicated to deceased donors, transplant recipients and patients in need, came from all 50 states and many countries and carried messages of love, hope and remembrance. The floral flame can be seen in the red and orange lantern in this photo.
Touched by organ donation
The 30 riders on the Donate Life float were all organ, tissue or cornea transplant recipients, whose dreams came true though the generosity of organ and tissue donors and their families. The 12 outwalkers were all living kidney donors, demonstrating the post-donation vitality by walking the nearly six-mile Rose Parade route.
Photos to remember
Floragraphs are created by replicating a photo with dry floral and seed materials on a board, then mounting it among flowers on the float. The names of all the donors pictured on the 2014 float can be found on the Donate Life Float website, which is a separate organization that funds the float so that no donations to Donate Life are used on the project. An article on floragraphs appeared in this column previously.
Family members decorate the floragraphs for Donate Life floats, and the floragraphs are returned to them after the parade. Most of the donors are from the United States, but the 2014 float pictured a Taiwanese lad and a boxer from South Korea. Families decorate the photos in Pasadena on the weekends prior to the Rose Parade or at more than 60 floragraph finishing events around the country.