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Published on December 31, 2014

MU Health Care Remembers Organ, Tissue and Eye Donors at 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade

COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri Health Care will celebrate the lives of central Missouri organ, tissue and eye donors during the 126th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2015, in Pasadena, California.

A rose representing each of the 75 donors from University Hospital and MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital in 2014 will be featured on the Donate Life float entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade. The Donate Life float serves as a memorial to organ, eye and tissue donors. Roses from thousands of individuals, families, organizations and hospitals across the country will be included on the float.

The Donate Life float is making its 12th appearance in the Rose Parade, and this year marks the eighth 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 worldwide television audience,” said Jami Beezley, R.N., hospital services coordinator with the Midwest Transplant Network. “We hope the families of our donors can take comfort in knowing their loved ones will be recognized during the Tournament of Roses Parade.”

The Donate Life float is designed to inspire the more than 55 million U.S. television viewers to give the gift of life by signing up to be organ and tissue donors. The float is themed “The Never-Ending Story” and features 60 butterflies — one for each life that can be transformed by a single deceased donor — emerging from an open book. The butterflies ascend above 72 volumes adorned with portraits of deceased donors whose legacies are nurtured by their loved ones.

“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,” said Catherine Ashbaugh, APN, clinical nurse specialist for transplant services at MU Health Care. “We’re encouraging Missouri residents to consider making the life-saving decision to become a donor.”

Approximately 124,000 people in the United States currently are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people by donating the heart, lung, kidneys, liver, pancreas and small bowel. In addition, more than 40,000 patients have their sight restored every year through corneal transplants.

“Giving the gift of life is a simple act that can forever change the lives of a transplant recipient,” Beezley said. “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 memorial events in April, which is National Donate Life Month. These events remember loved ones who donated organs as well as celebrate the lives that were saved by donations.

Missouri residents are encouraged to learn more about becoming donors by visiting the Midwest Transplant Network’s website at or by signing up for the Missouri donor registry at To learn more about MU Health Care’s organ transplantation program, visit