LANCASTER — Antelope Valley Hospital (AVH) and OneLegacy, the organ and tissue recovery organization serving the greater Los Angeles area, recently honored families of AVH organ and tissue donors at a Donate Life Rose Ceremony.
During the event, staff from AVH thanked the family members for their loved ones’ life-saving and healing gifts of organs and tissue by presenting them with a certificate of appreciation, a silk dedication rose and a flower vial, which will be placed on the Donate Life float in the 2015 Rose Parade.
Brian Hinsley, Los Angeles County Fire Department Firefighter/Paramedic, who received a liver transplant 14 years ago, shared his story and thanked all the families for their courage and compassion.
“Every day I get up, I walk with my transplant donor. She walks through fires with me and saves lives,” Hinsley said. “I take that gift with me every day because I am the recipient of love, hope and compassion.”
Forty-one families were invited to the ceremony and more than 10 families participated, while another family unable to attend sent a written commemoration to be read during the ceremony.
The families wrote personal messages tagged on flower vials, which will be placed in a rose dedication garden on the Donate Life’s float a few days before the 2015 Rose Parade.
“Thank you for trusting us in your great time of grief,” said AVH Chief Executive Officer Dennis Knox. “You are the true heroes for the enormous sacrifice you made to save the lives of others in need.”
The 12th Donate Life Parade Float, entitled “The Never-ending Story,” will feature 60 butterflies – one for each life that can be transformed by a single deceased donor – emerging from storybooks to symbolize the enduring power of organ, eye and tissue donation. The butterflies ascend above 72 volumes adorned with floragraph portraits of deceased donors whose legacies are nurtured by their loved ones.
Walking alongside the float will be 12 living organ donors whose stories have become intertwined with those of their recipients. Seated among thousands of dedicated roses are 30 riders representing transplant recipients who celebrate the new chapters of their lives made possible only by the generosity of donors.