Latest News

Donate Life California & California DMV Honor Donors at this Year’s Rose Parade

Over the past few months, Donate Life California partnered up with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to support the Donate Life Rose Parade as we honored 44 organ and tissue donors, on top of living donors and transplants recipients.

Donate Life California would like to thank the California DMV for their effort in these activities and their continued commitment to helping close the gap of those who are waiting for lifesaving transplants and those who able to receive them.

Donate Life Rose Parade Float California DMV Collaboration

This year the Rose Parade selected the theme of “Making a Difference”. This fits in perfectly with the work of Donate Life California and our partnership with the California DMV. From, this the Donate Life Rose Parade Float selected the theme of the “Gift of Time”.

In November, we had almost forty DMV staff and their guests join us to decorate the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. They worked to begin covering the float with some of the thousands of flowers and even more seeds, spices, and other natural materials that would cover the float that was 55 feet long, 14 feet wide and 26 feet high.

Donate Life Rose Parade Float California DMV Collaboration

Each year, Donate Life Californi honors a donor with ties to the DMV with a Floragraph on the float. This year, we honored Bonnie Walker, whose daughter, Tanya McClain, is the field office manager at the San Clemente office. Bonnie Walker served in the navy where she met her husband and raised four children in Southern California. In, 2003, Bonnie Walker passed away and was a cornea donor. All four of her children, now adults, were able to join us in honoring her at the Rose Parade and events surrounding it. Her Floragraph was placed on the Aztec calendar on the float, which Tanya and her son decorated earlier in the year. Learn more about this year’s honoree here.Donate Life Rose Parade Float California DMV Collaboration

Before the float was unveiled, leadership from the DMV, including Director Shimoto, many of the deputy directors and regional managers, joined the Donate Life California Board of Directors to place roses on the float in honor of California’s donors and those they personally knew. This is an annual event where Donate Life California can say thank you to the DMV and their leadership for continuing to support the Gift of Time and California’s organ & tissue donor registry.

Donate Life Rose Parade Float California DMV Collaboration

After over 10,000 hours of volunteer work, including those of DMV staff, the float was ready to go.

When the float was unveiled at the judging event the emotions were heavy in the air as we saw all 44 floragraphs revealed including Donate Life California and the DMV’s honoree Bonnie Walker. The crowd cheered, and tears were shed.

On New Year’s Day, the float traveled down Colorado Blvd in Pasadena where it was announced it won the “Theme Award”, for being the float to best honor of the theme of “Making a Difference”.

This was Donate Life’s fifteenth year as a part of the Rose Parade and we wouldn’t be able to do it, or achieve our overall mission, without the support of DMV staff from all over the state.

Stay tuned for news about the 2019 Donate Life Rose Parade Float and continue to support us in our efforts to give the Gift of Time!

Donate Life California Honors Navy Veteran & Mother Bonnie Walker on Donate Life Rose Parade Float

This year Donate Life California is continuing its tradition of sponsoring a floragraph on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float by honoring Bonnie Walker of El Cajon, California as an organ & tissue donor. On January 1st, 2018 during the 129th Rose Parade, Bonnie Walker will be one of 44 donors honored on the Donate Life float, The Gift of Time.

Donate Life Rose Parade Float, Gift of Time

Born Bonnie Lee Kleindolph on February 6, 1940, in Muscatine, Iowa. She spent part of her childhood growing up in Iowa and part in Tucumcari, New Mexico. After high school, she enlisted in the United States Navy and was placed at the Dental Office at the Naval Station in San Diego.

In 1961, she married Robert Walker. At this time Bonnie left the Navy and they started their family. They spent a short time in Long Beach then settled down in El Cajon, California where they were married for 42 years and raised 5 children.

Her daughter Tanya McClain describes her more as “a very giving and unselfish parent who took great pride in being actively involved with all the school and extra-curricular activities us kids took part in.”

Donate Life Floragraph Honoree

“Our mother loved to read and watch parades on TV. Every New Year’s Day we would watch the Rose Parade. The floats were her favorite and being on one would have ‘tickled her pink’ as she would say. ”

Bonnie was 63 when she passed away on June 1st, 2003 from cardiac arrest. She was able to donate her corneas which went to two different people. It’s wonderful that she was able to give the gift of sight to two precious recipients.

She is survived by her husband, Robert; 5 children, Tanya, Tammy, Sherina, Robert II and Kristina; brother, Roy; 4 grandchildren, Cody, Cole, Brianna and Tristan. Of course, now there are 3 more grandkids, Cheyenne, Connor and Emma and even 2 great grandkids, Zoe and Layla.

Each year Donate Life California honors a donor connected to the California Department of Motor Vehicles to say thank you for the support provided in registering organ and tissue donors around the state of California. In our eleven year partnership, we’ve been able to register over 14 million donors in the state of California. Tanya McClain, our honoree’s daughter, is the Manager of the San Clemente Field Office.

In October, Tanya and her son were able to decorate the Floragraph honoring her mother that will be included on this year’s float.

Donate Life Floragraph Decorating

Kick off your new year right by joining Donate Life as we honor donors during the Rose Parade on January 1, 2018!

Become A Donor to Support Breast Cancer Survivors

In the donation community, we often speak about how being a donor can save lives of those in need of organ transplants. We talk about diseases like kidney, liver, and heart failure and how being a donor can give someone a second chance at life.

One thing we don’t talk as much about is the role in changing lives that being a tissue donor can have. In October, this focus turns to how tissue donors are changing the lives of breast cancer survivors. Registering today as a donor can help breast cancer survivors heal and move forward with their lives.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her life. That means in 2017, over 252,700 cases will be diagnosed. Thankfully, survival rates have been increasing since 1989 and we continue to see advancements in treatment. Many of these women will require surgery and for many, reconstructions with a tissue donation is their best option.

We can work to help support these survivors by signing up to be an organ and tissue donor, where you are able to help ten different breast cancer survivors in their greatest time of need.

A Survivor’s Story

A cancer diagnosis is one of the most shocking things you can receive. Thankfully, today it is not always life-threatening, but there is no doubt it is always life-altering.

Even as you move into recovery, there are many things that have changed both physically and emotionally. Breast cancer survivor Kate Kane shares how her breast reconstruction surgery changed her life with AOPO.

“I can’t imagine having gone through what I went through and having that be a turning point in my life where I have to stop doing the things that I did, not just for my overall health and well-being, but as my social life. I’m so grateful that I was able to do that. The cancer didn’t get me and the reconstruction brought me back to my life.”

Support Survivors During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This month, you will see many ways to donate and support research for breast cancer. You will have the opportunity to support survivors in many ways. We hope you will also take a quick moment to support these survivors by signing up as an organ and tissue donor today.

Already signed up as a donor? You can help by sharing your story of why you’ve become a donor with your family and friends. They may not know that being a tissue donor can provide life-changing support to breast cancer survivors. Being open about your choice to be a donor creates a ripple effect of change!

Find out about one of our #StoriesofHope, Joshua San Pedro, who was able to change the lives of breast cancer survivors and others as a tissue donor here.

Breast Cancer Survivors Supporting Donation

Many breast cancer survivors are tissue recipients themselves, and they have now gone on to tell the story of how it changed their lives and why others should sign up as donors.

And many of them continue to be donors themselves. Having cancer does not disqualify you from being a donor and many women are giving back the #GiftOfLife they received.

Myth: I can’t be a donor if I’ve had cancer.
Truth: Cancer does not rule you out. You can always register to be a donor.

A beautiful story was shared by Sierra Donor Services of a breast cancer survivor learning she can pass it on as an organ & tissue donor.

Join Donate Life California in celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October and Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day on October 18th by signing up as a donor and sharing your story!

Switch to our mobile site