Two Iowans involved in organ donation will be featured on the “Donate Life Float” in the annual Rose Parade in Pasedena, California on New Year’s Day. Tony Hakes of the Iowa Donor Network says the float is a way to honor those who have donated and those who have received donated organs. “Those that have received a life-saving organ transplant, they get to ride on the float. And depicted on the float itself are florographs — which are basically kind of organic all-natural pictures based on the photographs of the people who have become donors,” Hakes explains.
The Iowa florograph this year will feature Garrett Brockaway of Muscatine. “He ended up donating five life-saving organs to those that were on the wait list,” Hakes says. “He also donated his corneas and tissues to help enhance the lives of many others.” Brockaway was 10-years-old when died after a tree-cutting accident. “His family made the very brave decision to have him be a donor. And his family has actually been absolutely wonderful since that time, started a foundation in his honor,” Hakes says. He says the family had a five-K walk/run in his honor and had 1,500 people attended.
The other Iowan being recognized is Kim Burdakin from Muscatine. “About 13 years or so ago, Kim received a life-saving liver transplant, and she is going to be the recipient representing Iowa on the float this year,” Hakes says. Burdakin’s sister Kay had volunteered to donate a portion of her liver for Kim and just as that operation was getting underway, a liver became available from an accident victim in Michigan.
Hakes says their stories and those of donors and recipients from the other states are highlight each year in the parade. Hakes says,”The float is an award winner almost every year. When it passes on the parade route, people stand and give an ovation. It’s really just a fantastic event all around.” He hopes people will see the float and be inspired to go to their website at www.iowadonornetwork.org. “That’s where you can see all kinds of events and you can actually register as a donor,” Hakes says. He says there are 600 Iowans on the donor waiting list and 120,000 on the list nationwide.