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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!

Already A Donor? There Are More Ways to Help

Signing up as an organ and tissue donor is a first, and a heroic, step towards saving lives. Being a donor allows you to save 8 and change up to 75 lives.

Once you’ve signed up if you’re looking for more ways to help support organ donation and increasing the Donate Life California registry consider a few of the below. Some will take time or money, but most of them just take you sharing your story of why you decided to become a donor.

Talk to Your Family & Friends

After you’ve decided to become an organ donor a great way to support the cause is to talk to your friends and family about your decision. Starting this conversation with the people close to you helps bring organ donation to the front of their minds. Talking to with them about why you made your decision might just encourage them to sign up as well. And for them to share their own story, creating a ripple effect of supporting organ donation.

On top of sharing your support for organ donation, these conversations can help ensure your family knows your wishes if the situation will arise. Even when you’re on the donor registry it’s still important for your family to know what’s important for you if a time comes to make a decision.

What are ways you can help support organ donation? Find out how you can help.

Go Big & Share Your Story

Telling family and friends why you decided to become an organ donor is a great step but how can you go bigger? Think about ways to share your story beyond just your family.

Take a few minutes and create a social media post in support of organ donation and why you are a donor. Pop over to our Facebook page and feel free to share any of our images or stories.

Has donation touched your life in ways more than just signing up as a donor? Consider sharing that with a group you’re involved in. With a class you’re taking. Or with your co-workers.

Telling the story of why donation is important to you and why you signed up as a donor to encourage others to follow in your footsteps.What are ways you can help support organ donation? Find out how you can help.

Help Others Register

A great way to help us increase the donor registry is hosting an eCampaign. What’s that? It’s a free tool that allows you to promote organ donation to your community and help register donors.

With just a few steps you can share your campaign on social media or email it out to your connections. Find out about starting an eCampaign today!What are ways you can help support organ donation? Find out how you can help.

Become A Volunteer

Get beyond your own network and volunteer to share about the impact organ donation can save lives within your community. Consider becoming a Donate Life Ambassador. You can represent Donate Life at community events, local DMV offices, and during presentations. Learn how you can volunteer with Donate Life.What are ways you can help support organ donation? Find out how you can help.

Make A Donation

Another way to continue to support Donate Life California and our efforts to increase the donor registry is making a financial contribution. Your gifts, of any size, help us reach more individuals around the state on why it is important for them to join the registry. As well as helping us to thank and honor donors and their families.

If you’re considering supporting Donate Life California with a gift click here for more information. You can also consider selecting Donate Life California as your Amazon Smile recipient, where you can shop like normal and support organ donation!

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