Every year, the Rose Parade is a time of celebration. There are floats, music, dancing, and general happiness. But the Rose Parade can celebrate more thoughtful things, too. And in January, there will be a float in the parade celebrating organ donors, including Eric Driskell, a football coach from Blue Valley High School in suburban Kansas City. He’ll be remembered far beyond his contributions to school athletics.
Driskell suffered a brain aneurysm in February and died at age 43. But because he was an organ donor, that wasn’t the end of his story. After he suffered the aneurysm, which caused irreversible brain damage, Driskell was kept on life support for three days to allow his organs, corneas, and tissue to be collected. And that’s how his story will continue: through those who received his donations.
In August, Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star was able to speak with Driskell’s widow Kari, and found out what kind of impact Driskell’s donation had. It’s pretty incredible. Both of his kidneys have been successfully transplanted, as well as his liver, and one of his corneas is awaiting transplantation. And there might be more, as tissue donations can continue for five years.
Driskell’s widow Kari has been in support of this from the beginning. In the days after her husband’s death, she posted on social media that she found comfort in knowing that Eric’s organs went to help others. Kari has since become a passionate advocate for organ donation, and she and her two daughters will ride on Donate Life’s Rose Parade float in January. And the float itself sounds amazing. The float’s title and theme is The Gift Of Time, and here’s the description from KCTV:
The Gift of Time float depicts a vibrantly colored, tropical backdrop that dates back to the ancient civilizations of Mexico.
It celebrates the gift of life as 16 costumed riders sit alongside the jungle, against stone carvings, drawing on the strength they have gained from their donors to continue and thrive on life’s journey.
The monumental Aztec calendar draws the eye to the center of the float where donors will honored.
Eight living donors and recipients will walk beside the float with baskets of fruit, which represent the gift of life that has been given to others. It’s the perfect way to honor the life of Eric Driskell and many other organ donors. They will live on through their gifts, which have allowed others to live.
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