The American Hospital Association, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations and the Eye Bank Association of America have joined together to offer hospital CEO’s nationwide the opportunity to handwrite a dedication to be placed on the 2014 Donate Life Rose Parade float, themed Light Up the World

The personal, handwritten message will honor the patients and families who, with the support of hospital staff, have saved and healed lives through the gift of organ, eye and tissue donation.  The Rose Parade is an ideal venue to showcase how Alabama hospitals, and other hospitals across the country, make possible the life-saving and healing benefits of organ, eye and tissue donation.

For the past ten years, dozens of organizations nationwide, including the Alabama Organ Center, have collaborated to enter a Donate Life float in the Rose Parade.  Originally envisioned by a lung recipient who wished to thank organ, eye and tissue donors for their gifts of life, the Donate Life Rose Parade Float has grown into a national tradition featuring dozens of participants each year: Riders who have received transplants; Walkers who are living donors; and Deceased donors memorialized in “Floragraph” portraits integrated into the float’s design.  Together with an inspiring float design, the Donate Life Rose Parade Float entry is a showcase of compassion, perseverance and courage in the face of adversity.

One of the trademarks of the float design is a “Dedication Garden” filled with thousands of roses, each placed in a vial carrying a unique, personal message from an individual, family or organization.  This year, the float will carry a tribute from Medical West, in Bessemer, Alabama, with a personal tribute from Keith Pennington, CEO.  “The support families receive from the hospital is vital to a successful donation program.  The hospital caregiver’s dedication and commitment to patients and families makes the gift of life possible by enabling a family to feel comfortable with the decision to donate,” states Chris Meeks, Executive Director Alabama Organ Center. 

Today, there are more than 120,000 men, women and children in the United States on the organ transplant waiting list.  Of those, nearly 3,800 are on Alabama’s list.  Unfortunately, eighteen will die each day because an organ does not become available in time.  The need for organ donors is more critical than ever. 

For more information, and to register to be a donor, please visit the AOC’s website at www.alabamaorgancenter.org or join us on Facebook; just search Alabama Organ Center.