2018 Float Rider Honorees
Meet the float riders touched through donation and transplantation!
Amy Camacho’s positive and boundless energy is felt everywhere she goes. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10, she was still able to grow up with an active lifestyle and attend college to become an educator. Since 2001, she has made a difference in her students’ lives as an elementary school teacher. In her mid-thirties, Amy’s doctor notified her that her disease had affected her kidneys and that she needed a transplant to survive. By then, she lacked the energy to stand in front of her class or do some of her favorite activities. In 2016, after nearly five years on the national transplant waitlist, Amy received a kidney and pancreas transplant. She is thrilled to teach all day and still have the energy to go to the gym. Her transplant also inspired her to become a Donate Life Ambassador with Donor Network West to share her story of donation.At 50 years old, Dorothy “Dot” Delarosa from San Antonio has a lot to be thankful for after receiving a second chance at life, thanks to an organ donor. Dot was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, or scarring of the lung, and relied on her oxygen tank 24/7 in order to perform simple tasks like walking, eating and bathing. Given only two-to-five years to live, her only hope was a life-saving transplant. On June 7, 2010, she received a left lung. “Not a day goes by that I don’t thank my organ donor for gifting me the most selfless gift humanly possible—my lung,” said Dot. To honor her donor’s family, Dot volunteers with several organizations in Texas, to encourage others to sign up and save lives. She is honored to be part of the 2018 Donate Life Float, and she is grateful for her donor’s gift and for the countless others who have given through donation.Dylan was a sophomore in high school when he was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. Critically injured, he spent several weeks in the ICU undergoing multiple surgeries to repair injuries of his left arm and right leg. Once stabilized, however, Dylan discovered he was unable to move most of his left arm. The accident had caused significant nerve damage. Physicians believed that Dylan might never regain use of his arm, and they mentioned he might need amputation. While searching for other options, Dylan’s family found a physician who could help. In the summer of 2015, Dylan underwent surgery to repair his nerve damage, and his damaged nerve tissue was replaced with donated tissue. Thanks to a donor’s ultimate gift of tissue donation, Dylan’s nerves regenerated, restoring function and sensation to his left arm. Today Dylan has full use and sensation of both arms. He is an active 19 year old who loves to rebuild cars, helps his father run an electronics business, and is currently pursuing acting and film making classes.Hailey Steimel was born with a congenital heart defect that require her to undergo an open-heart surgery at the age of 1. Growing up, she lived a relatively normal life, much like her twin sister, Hope. That changed quickly in the fall of 2012, when Hailey and her family learned that she would eventually need a heart transplant. A year later, she was placed on the UNOS list, after being hospitalized with congestive heart failure. After receiving “the call”, on February 14 she celebrated Valentine’s Day and National Organ Donor Awareness Day by receiving a much-awaited heart from a generous donor. Because of this special gift, Hailey was able to go back to high school and graduate with her class. She is now in college and she hopes to work in a field that allows her to share her story and the importance of organ donation with others.After serving four years in the Air Force, at the age 26, Jason achieved his goal to work on the streets of Phoenix as a rookie police officer. Shortly after his first year of service, Jason's life took an unexpected, tragic turn, when a taxi cab crashed into the rear of Jason's patrol car. Upon impact, Jason's car burst into flames, trapping him inside. Through a series of miraculous and fateful circumstances, Jason survived the crash. He suffered severe burns to over 40% of his body, which drastically altered his appearance. He has undergone more than 50 surgeries just to have the ability to accomplish simple, daily tasks we often take for granted. Donated skin grafts help saved Jason’s life. Eventually, Jason had to retire from the police force. He is now a motivational speaker, sharing his inspirational story with others throughout the United States.P.J. was diagnosed with a tumor in his tibia at just eleven years of age. A biopsy revealed that P.J. had bone cancer. He received his treatments and chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic where he was hospitalized until late August of 2012. He then found out that over 97% of his tumor had been eliminated by the chemo and that a new tibia was available for him, thanks to a tissue donor. Thanks to his treatment and the donated musculoskeletal tissue, P.J. is back in school and can be active in gym class and play alongside his friends again.Yolanda Harshaw was diagnosed with pregnancy-induced cardiomyopathy in March of 2004, two months after giving birth to her first child. She battled with the disease for ten years, while seeking and continuing medical treatment that required extended hospitalization. Yolanda's condition worsened and she ended up on life support in May of 2010, after giving birth to her second child. For the next four years, Yolanda continued to endure extended hospitalization, and that she would eventually need a heart transplant. Yolanda was placed on the donor list on December 25, 2014. On December 26, Yolanda received the call that changed her life forever; they found a perfect match in less than twenty-four hours of her being listed. She shortly headed to the hospital, where she received the most amazing gift of life. The transplant was a success. Yolanda was able to meet her donor family last year and since then they have grown very close; she says it is like having a second amazing family. Both Yolanda and her donor, Melissa, will be honored on the Donate Life Float in 2018.