Iowans involved in organ donation will be involved in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena again this year.
Iowa Organ Donor Network spokesman Tony Hakes says the Donate Life float in the parade on January 2nd will include a florograph with a likeness of organ donor Dyllan Lawson.
“His family is going to go out and be able to decorate float and see the florograph actually on the float — and do a bunch of other fun things with the family,” Hakes says. Lawson had just completed his first year at the University of Iowa in pre-medicine when he was involved in a car accident on June 30th, 2011 that left him with severe head injuries. His organs were donated to four people.
“His family has done a lot of things to promote donation in the last few years,” Hakes says, “they hold a 5-K and they do some stuff at a baseball game. Dyllan was a big baseball fan and player.” Hakes says this is a good way to honor Dyllan and thank his family for continuing the support of organ donation.
“Turns out that his family is actually fans of the Rose Parade, they watch it every year, and they have been sending a rose out to the Donate Life Float each year,” Hakes says. “And so this year to honor him and them — we decided to send his parents and sister and brother out to represent us at the Rose Parade.” Iowa is also sending a representative who had received and organ donation to ride the parade float, and another person who donated an organ to walk along with the float.
“And it turns out that our walker is the liver donor of our walker, a mother and daughter team. So, that is going to be pretty special for them too,” Hakes says. Cindy Newton is a living donor to her first and only daughter Carlie who was born with a disease that kept her liver from functioning.
“I think she was just a few months old when her mother got tested and was able to donate a partial liver to her. So I think that was 18-19 years ago now, because she is a freshman at Iowa,” Hakes says. This year’s float is called “Teammates in Life” and includes 95 other organ donor recipients along with Carlie Newton. The float is modeled after a Polynesian catamaran.