Each year, the Donate Life float featured in the Rose Parade, broadcast around the world on New Year’s day, shares the Gift of Life through organ, tissue and eye donation with thousands of participants and millions of television viewers. As are all Rose Parade floats, the Donate Life float is made entirely of organic and floral materials. The float design always highlights those individuals who have become organ, tissue and eye donors, including living donors, as well as transplant recipients whose lives have been saved thanks to a donated organ or tissue. The float also features a dedication garden. Each rose in the dedication garden is in memory or honor of someone who has made an impact on others through donation. Many of those dedications are contributed by families in the LifeLink organ recovery service areas during recent Donor Family Services of Remembrance in honor of their loved ones who were organ, tissue or eye donors, and others are contributed by medical professionals who partner with LifeLink to facilitate lifesaving donation.
In addition, the Donate Life float features floragraphs, floral portraits of individuals who have given the gift of life through donation, from around the country. Two floragraphs on the 2016 float memorialize individuals who became donors from the LifeLink of Florida service area. Ommy Irizarry and his daughter, Oceana, were tragically killed in an accident while visiting Florida on a family vacation in August of 2014. Ommy’s wife, Rebecca, Oceana’s mother, made the decision to allow Oceana to save lives as an organ donor, and Ommy to help dozens of others through tissue donation. Their story will be highlighted through Rose Parade events and activities, and Ommy and Oceana’s portraits will appear on the float.
The parade will be televised on NBC, ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV and other national networks.