MONTEBELLO, Calif., Dec. 18, 2013 – A memorial floragraph portrait honoring tissue donor Joshua San Pedro of Alta Loma will “Light Up the World” on the 2014 Donate Life Rose Parade Float in Pasadena on New Year’s Day. Today, Donate Life California and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), along with Josh’s family, put the finishing touches on the floragraph during a ceremony at the DMV’s Montebello Field Office. Josh’s cousin, Rosemarie Fortes, works for the DMV, a Donate Life California partner.
In April of this year, Joshua San Pedro, 22, suffered a fatal heart attack caused by a combination of undiagnosed medical conditions. As Josh’s family and friends began dealing with the shock of losing him so suddenly, his fiancée Alexis learned she was pregnant. Josh’s legacy lives on through his unborn child, who is due January 3rd, as well as through his gifts of tissue. Already those gifts have helped a breast cancer survivor, a bone cancer survivor and a child with a cleft palate, among others. The floragraph, one of 81 that will shine brightly on the Donate Life Float, honors Josh’s decision to heal lives after his death.
Josh knew firsthand the impact of one’s decision to be a donor. While playing football at Alta Loma High School, he suffered an injury requiring three operations, one of which was a knee replacement that included donated tissue. After that, Josh signed up on the Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry, knowing he could someday help others in the same way. But Josh wanted to help others in life, too. After high school, he attended Citrus College, worked as an EMT and was studying to be a paramedic.
“We are honoring Josh because of his obvious compassion for others and for saving lives. As a tissue recipient, he understood the impact of being a donor, because the gift of life helped him heal from a football knee injury,” said Charlene Zettel, CEO of Donate Life California. “Now, his story as both a recipient and a donor is being shared with the world in the hopes of inspiring others to sign up to save and heal lives.”
“We are honored that Donate Life California chose a member of the DMV family to be memorialized on the Rose Parade Float,” said Jean Shiomoto, DMV Director. “Josh was dedicated to improving the lives of others in any way he could. That was evident during his life, and even after his death.”
The DMV has helped more than 10.6 million Californians sign up to be registered organ and tissue donors during its nearly 10-year partnership with Donate Life California.
About the 2014 Donate Life Rose Parade Float:
Individuals and families touched by organ and tissue donation and transplantation shine a light on us all. 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 both living and registered donors are beacons of hope to patients who aspire to live longer, fuller lives. Like lanterns illuminating the night sky above or the path before us, those who give and receive the gift of life Light Up the World with their compassion and courage.
The 2014 Donate Life Rose Parade Float entry features a festival of lanterns illuminating 30 riders – all grateful organ and tissue transplant recipients – and 12 living organ donors walking alongside to demonstrate their ongoing vitality. Five enormous lamps are adorned with 81 memorial floragraph portraits of deceased donors whose legacies of life shine brightly. The riders are seated throughout a dedication garden filled with thousands of roses bearing personal messages of love, hope and remembrance. For more information about the Donate Life Rose Parade Float, visit the official float website at www.donatelifefloat.org.
About Donate Life California:
The Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry is the nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry, which records the decision to donate in a confidential database that is searched by authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel at the time of an actual donation opportunity. It is administered by Donate Life California and California’s four nonprofit, federally designated organ recovery organizations: Donor Network West , Lifesharing, OneLegacy and Sierra Donor Services. As a state-authorized public service, the registry assures that all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel.
Help Donate Life California save lives by reserving a Pink Dot Plate. Go to www.PinkDotPlate.org for details and to reserve yours today!
For more information about the Donate Life California Registry, how donation saves and improves lives, and to sign up, please visit www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or in Spanish at www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org.
Fast Facts from Donate Life California:
– One in five on the U.S. organ transplant waiting list lives in California.
– Last year, nearly 1,100 people died in our state waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
– All major religions support or permit organ, eye and tissue donation.
– Anyone can register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor regardless of age, ethnicity or medical history.
Please visit Donate Life California’s Stories of Hope web page to read inspiring stories about organ and tissue donors and recipients from around the state.
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