December 16, 2010 Contact: Matt Splett
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (573) 882-5663
COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri Health Care celebrated the lives of central Missouri organ, tissue and eye donors during the 122nd Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2011, in Pasadena, Calif.
A rose representing each of the 80 donors from University Hospital and MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital in 2009 was featured on the Donate Life float entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade. The Donate Life float was making its eighth appearance in the Rose Parade, and this year marks the second time MU Health Care has participated in the parade.
“The Donate Life float offers a unique opportunity to celebrate the lives of our organ, tissue and eye donors before a world-wide television audience,” said Lori Kramer-Clark, hospital services coordinator for Midwest Transplant Network. “We hope the families of our donors can take comfort in knowing their loved ones were recognized during the Tournament of Roses Parade.”
MU Health Care’s Donor Council collected money through private fund-raising efforts to pay for the roses. The Donor Council is a multidisciplinary team of hospital staff members who work in all areas of the hospital, and it includes doctors and nurses involved with direct patient care, administrators, chaplains and support staff.
“As a Donor Council, we witness every day the powerful ways in which donation and transplantation touches lives,” said Mark Wakefield, M.D., chair of MU Health Care’s Donor Council and director of the hospital’s renal transplant program. “The Donate Life float is a great way to honor and remember those MU Health Care donors who gave the gift of life through organ, tissue and eye donation.”
The Donate Life float is designed to inspire the more than 50 million U.S. television viewers to give the gift of life by signing up to be organ and tissue donors.
The float is themed “Seize the Day!” and featured colorful kites adorned with 60 memorial floragraph portraits of deceased donors. Approximately 3,000 roses of remembrance appeared on the float honoring individual organ donors. Each rose had a tag with messages of love, hope and remembrance on their vials.
More than 28,000 lives are saved each year in the United States through the gift of organ donation, giving hope to the nearly 109,000 people awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. In addition, every year hundreds of thousands of people need donated corneas and tissue to prevent or cure blindness, heal burns or save limbs.
“Giving the gift of life is a simple act that can forever change the lives of a transplant recipient,” said Kramer-Clark. “The Rose Parade provides a great opportunity to inspire viewers to give the gift of life by registering as an organ or tissue donor.”
MU Health Care will honor local donor families and remember rose recipients during a Donate Life month ceremony scheduled for April 2011 at University Hospital.
For more information about joining Missouri’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, please visit www.missouriorgandonor.com.
For more information about the Donate Life Rose Parade float, please visit the official float Web site at www.donatelifefloat.org.