Seven Lives Changed Thanks to the Healing Power of Tissue Donation to be Part of the 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade Float, “Light in the Darkness”

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Seven men and women whose lives were transformed forever thanks to the generosity of others through cornea and tissue donation will be among the participants on the Donate Life Rose Parade® float Jan. 1, 2020, in Pasadena.

The 2020 Donate Life float, “Light in the Darkness,” is the centerpiece of a national effort to reach a broad audience with the simple, life-giving message that organ, eye and tissue donation saves and heals lives. The seven cornea and tissue recipients represented on the 2020 Donate Life float include men and women from around the country and from all walks of life.

From corneas that restore sight to skin grafts that heal burned tissue, as well as nerves, tendons and bone allografts, thanks to the power of tissue and cornea donation, these participants are now enjoying a better quality of life.

Thanks to tissue donors, millions of people are healed every year and thousands of lives are saved. Tissue from one single donor can touch the lives of more than 75 people. Some of the tissues that can be donated include lifesaving tissues such as heart valves and skin grafts for burn survivors. Other tissues that are crucial to help heal and restore mobility include bone, ligament and nerve allografts, among others.

The 2020 Donate Life float cornea and tissue recipients include the following float riders and walkers:

David Carlson, a 74-year-old, two-time cornea recipient from Grand Island, New York, received cornea transplants in 1966 and 1970 after suffering from keratoconus for several years. David will be a rider honoree, sponsored by ConnectLife (formerly Unyts).

Jessica de Paz, a 43-year-old cancer survivor from Miami, Florida, received nerve allografts to help restore sensation to her chest after a double mastectomy. Jessica’s participation on the float as a rider is sponsored by AxoGen.

Ellie Moore from Bow, New Hampshire, discovered that she had a condition that would require her to receive bone tissue after suffering from ongoing pain on her right leg. Thanks to her tissue donor, Ellie got married in September, realizing her dream of walking down the aisle without crutches and dancing the night away. Ellie will be a rider on the Donate Life float thanks to the sponsorship of Community Tissue Services.

In November 2011, Jim Vidas, a 75-year-old burn victim from Rockville, Maryland, is alive today thanks to donated tissue, which prevented fluid loss and infection. Jim will be a rider on the Donate Life float thanks to the sponsorship of the American Association of Tissue Banks.

Tracy Warren-Hein is a wife, mother to two and breast cancer survivor from Jensen Beach, Florida, who was surprised to learn that she received skin tissue from two donors as part of a breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy. She will be a rider on the Donate Life float, thanks to the sponsorship of Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, in partnership with Donor Network of Arizona.

Jeannie Sullivan from Naples, Florida, received a heart valve transplant after being diagnosed with a congenital heart condition. Her participation on the float as a walker honoree is sponsored by Cryolife.

Lauren Mahoney, from Bloomington, Minnesota, tore her ligaments and damaged her meniscus following a skiing accident. Her son Ryan, a tissue donor who passed away two years earlier, became her donor when she needed surgery to repair her ligaments, thanks to the efforts from the American Tissue Services Foundation and Medtronic, who is sponsoring her participation as a walker on the Donate Life float.

The Donate Life Rose Parade float, produced by OneLegacy, is made possible thanks to more than 45 sponsors. The 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade float will include 70 participants, including 18 riders who are organ, eye or tissue recipients, and eight walkers who are living donors or recipients.

The 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade float, “Light in the Darkness,” will highlight the power of unity, light and love as celebrated during Southeast Asia’s Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, a celebration of light shining in the darkness. As the world’s most visible campaign to inspire organ, eye and tissue donation, the Donate Life Rose Parade float inspires viewers to help the over 1 million people in need of organ, eye or tissue transplants each year. Register today to become an organ, eye or tissue donor by visiting

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