Photo courtesy of DLA
Each year, AATB sponsors one tissue recipient from an accredited institution to have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride on the Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.
The Rose Parade provides the sponsored rider and their nominating organization with an incredible opportunity to promote the life-saving and life-enhancing power of tissue donation to a national audience.
Any AATB-accredited organization may submit a tissue recipient to be considered for this opportunity. Please see the 2019 Nominating Organization Agreement for more information on the benefits and responsibilities associated with the AATB Rose Parade sponsorship.
Nominations for the 2019 Rose Parade will be open from May 7, 2018 – June 18, 2018.
The float rider will be selected by the AATB staff, and will be announced this summer.
2018 - Peter “P.J.” Williams
Age 17 ~ Cleveland, OH
P.J. was diagnosed with a tumor in his tibia at just eleven years of age. A biopsy revealed that P.J. had bone cancer. He received his treatments and chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic where he was hospitalized until late August of 2012. He then found out that over 97% of his tumor had been eliminated by the chemo and that a new tibia was available for him, thanks to a tissue donor. Thanks to his treatment and the donated musculoskeletal tissue, P.J. is back in school and can be active in gym class and play alongside his friends again.
Now 16, P.J. is excited to get his driver license and become a registered organ, eye and tissue donor.
"Donors are heroes," P.J. says as he reflects on his experience. “To give away something like that, well, I really don’t have any words for it. They just are heroes."
Photo courtesy of Lifebanc
2017 – Angela Hadfield
Age 26 ~ Syracuse, NY
Recovery Coordinator in Tissue Donation
Angela was born with a congenital defect called Chiari Malformation; a malformation of the brain. In 2015, she had brain surgery to repair this defect. Her surgeon removed a small section of her skull and cut through the covering of the brain, known as the dura, which would allow the brain to have more space, and prevent further sagging of the cerebellum into the spinal canal. Because of this, an allograft patch needed to be sewn into place which allows the brain to have more room and the cerebral spinal fluid to flow more effectively to the rest of the body. Without this surgery and the generous gift of tissue, Angela may have experienced permanent nerve damage, as well as other complications such as cysts in the spinal cord, breathing problems, visual impairments, decreased strength in the extremities and even paralysis or death.
Because of this surgery, she is also able to resume her active lifestyle, which includes running, hiking and weight lifting. She was also able to continue working full time in a career that she loves as a Recovery Coordinator in tissue donation. Chiari Malformation is thought to affect 1 in 1000 people in the United States; however, most patients suffer from debilitating symptoms for years before being diagnosed. For Angela, who is an AATB certified Tissue Bank Specialist; this opportunity gave her a chance to express her gratitude to all of the families, including the families of her donors, whose generous gifts give patients like herself a new outlook on life.
Photo courtesy of Angela Hadfield
2016 – Miren Ivankovic
Bone Graft Recipient
Age 49 ~ Clemson, South Carolina
Miren would not be active today and enjoy the quality of life he has, if it were not for another person making the decision to become a tissue donor. Miren was an avid runner for many years, competing in the South Carolina Grand Prix Circuit. Eventually, he developed arthritis in both hips and ultimately suffered pelvis damage in 2005. At that time he underwent a series of bone grafts to repair the impairment. Since his surgery, he has continued an active lifestyle, playing tennis and running as often as he can.
A member of "Team South Carolina", Miren competed in several events last year at the 2014 Donate Life Transplant Games of America in Houston, TX. He won gold medals in the Virtual Triathlon – Overall Tissue Recipient, 5K Run – Overall Tissue Recipient, 5K Run – 40-49 Male Age Group, 5K Cycling, 20K Cycling, and Track & Field – 1500 Meters. He also won a silver medal in Swimming – 500 Meters.
As a professor, Miren tells his successful transplantation story to each of his classes every semester. That translates to hundreds of students learning about donation and transplantation each year. He is also active on social media promoting organ, eye and tissue donation awareness.
Miren would not be active today and enjoy the quality of life he has, if it were not for another person making the decision to become a tissue donor. "The cause of organ, eye and tissue donation saves lives. It for sure allowed my orthopedist to repair my very damaged pelvis," states Miren. "Donation is amazing. It is a true act of giving."
Photo courtesy of Miren Ivankovic