2015 Floragraph Honorees

Each year, the Donate Life float’s memorial floragraphs honor deceased organ, eye and tissue donors nationwide. Through these artistic portraits – all of which are decorated in whole or in part by the honorees’ loved ones – we honor them, their families, and donors everywhere.

Edward Ray “Lalo” Alcantar
Edward Ray “Lalo” Alcantar was a smart young 15-year-old with many talents, including soccer and the violin. On September 9, 2010, after a school swimming class, Lalo felt pain in his chest and legs; he passed away the next morning. When asked about donating his tissue and corneas, Lydia recalled that Lalo had told her he wanted to be a donor if anything happened. “What do I need my eyes for?” he asked. Lydia now works for the California DMV and encourages people to think about signing up for donation. “Lalo’s life may seem too short by many,” Lydia asserted. “But those who were touched by him understand that the quality of existence far exceeds the quantity of time in which you live it.”

Nicholas “Jordan” Aucoin
Jordan Aucoin was a lifelong athlete and three-year football letterman who was loved by his five siblings. On his 18th birthday, Jordan became a registered organ donor. Later that year on November 18, 2010, he suffered severe head trauma resulting from a vehicular accident and died two days later. He donated his organs, corneas and tissue. The family has met his heart and cornea recipients; the latter helped to raise fund for a new cornea machine dedicated in Jordan’s memory. “We know Jordan lives on through you, his recipients,” said his father Sean. “Only one word can truly describe Jordan?BEAUITFUL!”

Michael Robert Belko
Michael Robert Belko was deep beyond his years. He had a thoughtful, empathetic spirit and was known for being the first person to lend a helping hand to young and old. He was a scholar in Chinese and Japanese, held a black belt in karate, and relished discussing global issues. As a student at UC Irvine, Michael served proudly as a member of student government where he could sponsor legislation to help others. A tragic accident ended his life at 20, but it didn’t end his ability to help those in need. Michael was a registered donor and his organs went on to save others. His family honors his legacy by volunteering in support of donation.

Jackie Lerma Billings
Born in England but raised near San Diego, Jackie Lerma Billings was known as someone who could be counted on for hugs and kind advice. Married to Robert Billings, she had three children and three grandchildren. The family knew the importance of donation because Bob had received a kidney from his brother, a living donor. In February 2014, Jackie had been fighting the flu when her condition worsened dramatically. Twelve hours after admission to the hospital on February 17, 2014, she was left brain dead from meningitis. She was 52. It was no surprise that she would continue to help others with her gifts of organs. As her family said, “To be able to give the gift of life to others definitely fit her personality.”

Danielle Lee Bogue
In the spring of 2007, 22-year-old Danielle Lee Bogue had just landed a great job teaching at a school for at-risk teens. In April, with four-month-old daughter Hannah in the back seat, a tire on her car blew out and the vehicle rolled over. Danielle was fatally injured while Hannah survived without a scratch. Danielle was able to save five lives through organ donation and helped countless others through tissue and cornea donation. Hannah, now eight, carries on her mother’s legacy by telling her story to encourage others to become donors.

Hilary Crawford Bradford
Hilary Crawford Bradford was a nurturing person who enjoyed making people laugh and feel good as much as she enjoyed helping others as a registered nurse. Her mother Bettsy became a non-directed living kidney donor, and Hilary had spoken of doing the same. Shortly after Hilary’s 36th birthday, she was shot while protecting her son from his mentally ill, biological father. “As a family, we know that Hilary is at peace and smiling because she saved her sons from an abusive situation, and she saved five lives with her organs,” said Bettsy. “That’s what a super mom does.”

Jordan Taylor Brown
Jordan Taylor Brown was blessed with a winning smile and warm embrace. He brought joy to his family and friends. A natural athlete with no formal training, Jordan mastered every sport he attempted – from his first dribble at age five to high school, where he played key positions on the basketball and football teams. On July 30, 2007, after attending a basketball game, 21-year-old Jordan was shot. When he died the next day, his family learned that he had registered to be an organ donor. He may have been inspired by his aunts – one a cornea recipient and the other a kidney recipient. His aunt Sonia believes that “Today, Jordan is absent in body but because of his unselfish gifts, he lives.”

Casandra Anne Campbell
Casandra Anne Campbell was a fun, beautiful, generous young woman who “knew how to put a smile on everybody’s face.” When she turned 18, she checked “yes” for organ donation at the DMV. A year later, on April 19, 2011, Cassie passed away, but she was able to save five lives, including that of 25-year-old Gabby, who received Cassie’s heart. The poignant meeting between Gabby’s and Cassie’s families garnered national attention when the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), featured it on its Lost and Found series. The producer of the show was so inspired that she signed up as well and unexpectedly died eight months later. Her gift saved and enhanced many lives.

Abby Lynn Cecena
Abby Lynn Cecena was a caring, smart, optimistic 16-year-old with an amazing singing voice. On August 7, 2012, Abby died from a head injury sustained in a car accident. She always aspired to become an organ donor, and her family honored her wishes. Her organ donations reached people around the country. Her mother Tammy emphasized that “Abby lived every day treasuring each beat of her heart and seeing beauty in every moment. She had an incredible love for everyone around her, and when we were faced with the decision to donate life there was no hesitation that we were making the right choice.”

Alan James Champagne
Alan James Champagne adored his family and treasured life. At the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, he was a project manager, and helped to facilitate and realize decent homes for many New England residents. On February 16, 2009, Alan and his son, Colin, went skiing for the day. While on his last run, Alan, 57, fell and suffered a fatal brain injury. Alan was able to donate his heart, kidneys, and liver, as well as tissue and corneas. “It was a time of such loss and heartache, yet I knew he’d given so much to so many others,” said his wife Virginia Champagne. “Alan’s gifts live on in good health to others – what a wonderful legacy.”

Sandra Priscilla Crespo
Sandra Priscilla Crespo was a beautiful, caring 32-year-old with an infectious smile and great sense of humor. She cherished her son Julian and her family. At the age of 29, Sandy was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. When a liver became available a year later, everyone was elated. Shortly after her transplant, Sandy signed up to be a donor to help another family one day. Her road was not easy – she was hospitalized many times, and her liver condition affected her vision. When she lost her battle on earth, she was still able to donate the gift of sight. Her sister, Cynthia Crespo, affirmed that “She left this earth doing what she loved most, helping others.”

Jesus “Jesse” N. Cruz
Jesus “Jesse” N. Cruz was a very loving being whose inner beauty was evident to everyone who knew him. At 20, he was a college wrestler and academic all-American who once said that he wanted to be remembered as “an honest, hardworking individual who was always willing to help out.” On September 18, 2010, Jesse collapsed during his second match of the day and could not be saved. A few years prior, he told his mother he wanted to be an organ donor. Through his tissue and cornea donations he was able to help others in their time of need.

Joseph Howard “Jody” Culver II
Joseph Howard “Jody” Culver II loved his work, his church, and spending time with his friends and family. Born on January 1, the Rose Parade had always been a huge birthday celebration for him. He and his family spent many nights sleeping on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena anxiously awaiting the parade to pass by. On October 17, 2008, Jody had a fatal heart attack in his sleep at the young age of 48. He had always wanted be an organ donor and his family made sure to say “yes” to donation. More than 95 people benefitted from his bone, tissue, and corneas. “I am so proud to be the daughter of a donor and will make sure that I share his story with everyone I can,” said Jody’s daughter, Jennifer.

Joseph Valentino D’Addio
Joe D’Addio was a huge sports fan and a dedicated youth sports coach. He was also successful professionally and as a dedicated husband and father to his beloved daughter Alyssa. In April 2009, 50-year-old Joe suffered a fatal cerebral brain hemorrhage. His family generously decided to donate his organs and tissue to save the lives of those in need. Joe’s kidneys saved the lives of two people, and his tissue was used to help more than 80 others. “A loving, caring, loyal, generous man, he lives on in many, many others,” his wife Alberta summed up.

Philip Alexander Dhanens
Philip Alexander Dhanens was a fun-loving, 18-year-old who had just left for college. At more than 6’5″, he had earned the name “Big Phil” and was known as an affectionate son and friend and for his wonderful bear hugs. On a Saturday night, September 1, 2012, Philip slipped into a coma as a result of alcohol poisoning from a college fraternity hazing event. He died the next day, and the Dhanens decided to donate Phllip’s organs, tissue and corneas. His mother Diane noted that “Months later, we realized that our choice to offer Philip’s body was heaven sent. Regardless of our overwhelming grief and emotional trauma, we were able to respond in a loving way to people in need.”

Mike Erickson
Mike Erickson loved playing football and being outside. Before graduating high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and completed basic training, which he thought “would be tougher than that.” On December 28, 2012, Mike tragically passed away at age 28. His mother, Dorothy Beckman, knew that “Mike would have wanted to help others one last time. That’s why I made the decision to donate.” One of Mike’s tissue graft recipients was Colin Lepley, whose letter to Mike’s parents expressed his deep gratitude. They had been praying that the recipients of Mike’s organs, tissue and corneas were getting stronger and resuming normal lives. Colin’s letter helped to answer that question in their minds. He will ride with his donor on this year’s Donate Life Rose Parade float.

Joshua Steven Florence
Joshua “Josh” Steven Florence was a talented athlete who helped lead his high school soccer and football teams to the state championship games in 2005. He was competitive but compassionate and always willing to help others. At 19, he was planning a career in landscaping when his car was struck from behind as he waited at a red light. His family was positive he would want to help others and donating his organs and tissue seemed natural. Through his gifts of life he lives on in the four people he saved and in the memories of his family and friends.

Rachel Lucy Givens
Rachel Lucy Givens had a passion and natural talent for athletics, especially basketball and soccer. She led her high school team to multiple state championship appearances and then went to college on a soccer scholarship. In 2010, Rachel began teaching at the Muckleshoot Tribal School. Rachel was proud to serve as a role model for young Native Americans. On October 5, 2013, Rachel was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street and died two days later. By donating her heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys, she saved the lives of five people and helped the lives of many others with her tissue and cornea gifts. “I’m very proud of her decision to donate,” said her mother, Laura Givens. “She always thought about the bigger picture and about other people.”

Paul M. Guyette
Paul Guyette was a devoted family man, electrician, and avid sportsman. He loved the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. In 2012, a close family friend announced she would donate her kidney altruistically, which amazed Paul, who called it the most humble act that anyone could do. Ten days after his friend underwent surgery for her donation, Paul was awakened by a tremendous headache that signaled a severe intracranial brain hemorrhage. He was able to save four lives through organ donation, help two others with saphenous veins, and restore sight to two people. His heart was received by hockey player Gates Orlando, who was in the same hospital at the same time and a perfect match.

Gregory Keith Hamill
Gregory Keith Hamill was a devoted family man, loyal friend, and community protector. He had a gift for animated storytelling to entertain his many friends and his two children, Taryn and Ian. Greg served the Omaha community for 13 years as a narcotic detective and DEA task force officer. He passed away on February 19, 2014, at the age of 43 from complications related to the H1N1 influenza virus. His passion to help others continued after his death through his organ, tissue and cornea donation.

Jon David Harrison
Jon David (JD) Harrison loved to draw, play the drums, listen to music and play sports. He inspired many of his friends and teammates with his courageous, never-give-up attitude. Jon was 16 on Dec. 30, 2006, when he was killed in an auto accident. He had never talked with his family about organ donation, but since he was such a kind and caring person, they knew that making the decision to help other people live better was the right choice. Jon’s tissue helped to improve the quality of life for many people.

Justin David Harrison
Justin Harrison was a beautiful, kind-hearted 15-year-old. When his grandfather died waiting for a heart transplant, Justin told his mother that “If more people knew about organ donation, my PawPaw would still be alive. Mama, we gotta tell people.” Less than a year later, on August 20, 1997, Justin was getting into a friend’s truck on his way to school when he slipped and hit his head. He was pronounced brain dead that night. Through donation, Justin was able to save five lives and restore the sight of two people. His mother Libbie Harrison affirms that “Not a day goes by that I do not do something to continue what Justin started – telling people about organ and tissue donation.”

Andrew John Hendel
Andrew John Hendel was born in 1995 in Hanoi, Vietnam, and adopted along with his twin brother into the Hendel family on April 16, 1996. He grew up in rural Minnesota, where he was active in many sports. Andy had a loving and caring personality. It was important to him to give of his time to help others. On January 22, 2012, 16-year-old Andy took his own life. He donated cardiovascular and musculoskeletal tissue that has helped 63 recipients, aged 15 to 82, in 25 states. His father said that “Andy had a message for us all. Be kind to others, smile always.”

Jesse Tyler Hill
Jesse Tyler Hill, the family “brainiac,” knew he wanted to become an engineer. At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he was studying rocket and satellite design. On New Year’s Day 2013, while taking a walk, Jesse and his girlfriend were struck on the sidewalk by an impaired driver. In the midst of his tragic death, Jesse went on to give others the opportunity to live a full life through organ, tissue and cornea donations. Only months before, he had chosen to be a donor. According to his mother, Crystal “organ donation is a conversation many families in the community have had because of Jesse.”

Caleb Andrew Holman
On July 4, 2012, 17-year-old Caleb Andrew Holman went swimming at a friend’s home, when an accident occurred that fractured his cervical spine. Despite his father Mike, the police chief, being a first responder, Caleb stopped breathing and died five days later. Caleb came from a family where donation was not only highly respected but also his mother Becky’s profession; he signed up to be a donor when he received his driver’s license. Caleb’s gifts saved the lives of three people and improved the quality of life for more than 50 others with his cornea and tissue donations. His parents remain steadfast supporters who educate others about donation at every opportunity.

Allen Janohosky
Allen Janohosky was a caring and considerate young man who always extended his love to familyand friends and to anyone who needed help. He understood the power of love and giving when in 2001, at age 16, he said “Yes” to organ and tissue donation on his driver’s license. A year later, Allen died tragically in an auto accident, and his family honored his wish to be an organ and cornea donor. His kidney-pancreas recipient, Jimmy Lynch, will ride the float proudly beside his donor’s floragraph. Since Allen’s donation, his mother Jean Janohosky has been a tireless advocate of donation. She considers her son “our Hero.”

Dakota Lane Johnston
Dakota Lane Johnston was a handsome, courageous, loving, sweet, and giving young man. On May 8, 2008, after fishing with his dad and friends, eight-year-old Dakota collapsed from a hemorrhaging arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in the center of his brain. He died two days later. Dakota’s parents, Steve and Kelly, decided to donate his organs that saved the lives of five people. One of them was a five-year-old boy from Houston, whom Steve and Kelly have met.

Lindsay Alyce Jones
At 17, Lindsay Alyce Jones was a beautiful girl with exceptional wisdom and a larger-than-life personality. She loved to travel and hoped to attend nursing school and help those in other countries. On September 13, 2002, Lindsay suffered a brain aneurysm. She saved three people through four organ gifts and gave two women the gift of sight with her corneas. “I know in my heart that Lindsay is so happy to have given these people a future,” her mother Kathy affirmed. “We feel such peace knowing that Lindsay’s life lives on forever and her circle of life continues.”

John Michael Kelly
John Michael Kelly was adored by his family and friends. He was an adventurous outdoorsman who enjoyed climbing mountains and riding four-wheelers and motorcycles. John wanted to see the world and proudly served his country as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan and Iraq. After being honorably discharged, he became a leader in the athletic training program at Missouri State University when he suffered a fatal accident. Loyal and giving, he was also known as someone who would go out of his way to help someone else. John donated his “magic eyes” so that others could see.

Cheryl Ann Kennedy
Cheryl Ann Kennedy loved her family and helping others. She was married 45 years to her husband, Pat, and together they had two children and four grandchildren whom she adored. She worked in law offices and insurance agencies, taught Sunday School, and helped Pat coach T-Ball. Volunteering and helping others was a main focus for Cheryl. She held offices in the Chisago Lakes Lions Club and was honored for her years of service. In July 2013, Cheryl was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. She was 63 when she gave her final gift, the gift of sight to two women. Pat said, “Her life of love continues through her eye donation.”

Nancy Marleny Keys
Nancy Marleny Keys had an intensely energetic and competitive spirit. She immigrated to the U.S. from Bogota, Colombia, at age five. Nancy never forgot her humble beginnings and throughout her life strove to improve conditions for herself and those less fortunate. On August 20, 2000, Nancy died at the age of 41 from head trauma incurred in a car accident. She had registered to be an organ donor after learning about it from the DMV. “It was this decision that we were able to honor,” said her elder son, Ryan. “Knowing she continues to live on inside of each of the six recipients who received her organs, fulfilled her final and most selfless wish.”

Riley Kogen
Riley Kogen was the most gentle and kind-hearted little girl with an infectious laugh and bright blue eyes. When Riley passed suddenly during the night from a virus that ultimately lead to a brain seizure, her parents, Mitch & Ali, decided that this life saving gift was something which would ensure that her memory would live on. Riley’s kidneys were ultimately donated to two individuals suffering from kidney disease. Since Riley’s passing, the Kogens have taken an active role in raising awareness about organ donation and created Riley’s Dance, a crisis fund which offers assistance to families who have pressing expenses related to organ transplantation.

Jacob Krebs
Jacob’s accomplishments echo his young life of service. He excelled at cross-country and at being an Eagle Scout. Jacob always wanted to be a soldier, especially a Navy SEAL. On March 26, 2013 while training underwater, Jacob drowned in a tragic accident. Despite his family’s prayers for healing, he was declared brain dead on April 1, just two years after signing up to be a donor. He was 18. His organs gave life to four people, while his tissues enhanced the lives of 40 others. His corneas helped one person to see, and contributed to research. Jacob’s legacy of service and generosity is continually celebrated by his family through The Ultimate Gift of Life Foundation.

David William Krebs
David William Krebs liked to spend time with his family and friends, whether at home, at church, or at his local Elks Lodge. He was a compassionate man who would help anyone and was usually the first to volunteer, including delivering food baskets at Christmas, his favorite time of year. On November 29, 2008, 65-year-old David died from a left cerebral stroke. Fortunately, he had told his daughter Tracey that he wanted to be an organ donor. David’s family learned that his tissue and cornea donations became Christmas gifts for 50 to 100 people.

Tyler Dean Lewellen
Tyler Dean Lewellen was a free spirited, compassionate young man. Just before his 16th birthday, Tyler informed his parents that he wanted to be an organ donor. A few months later, Tyler sustained a traumatic brain injury while playing football. He died a few days later. His organ donation saved the lives of five people, while his tissue and corneas enhanced the lives countless others.

Sandy Lo
Sandy Lo came to New York from Taiwan when she was 40. She brought a strong work ethic with her as she progressed up the ladder in the garment industry. When she retired at age 70, she volunteered instead by joining the Tzu Chi Organization as a vegetarian chef, a skill and interest picked up from her father’s restaurant in Taiwan. Sandy worked tirelessly to help others, even if it meant getting up at 4:00 in the morning and enduring New York’s harsh winters. On February 13, 2013, Sandy died suddenly from a hemorrhaging stroke at age 78. Two days later, as she requested in her will, she donated her organs and saved five lives.

Andrew Loyd
Andrew Loyd’s dream was to be a superhero. He was drawn to movies with larger-than-life heroes as “over-comers” who could help people out of any situation. On October 11, 2012, at age 11, Andrew was killed by his mentally ill father and became an organ donor. He has continued to help others in another way through the “Andrew Loyd Bill,” which became law in Mississippi. Created in Andrew’s memory, the legislation honors him and will help to prevent other children from being killed by a mentally ill parent. Speaking of his nephew, Andrew’s uncle, Andy Burress, said “He overcame, he survived along the way, and he helped others do the same. He is now a superhero every single day.”

Dolores O. Luckow
Dolores Luckow shared her opinions, interests, and joys about life with everyone she encountered. Perhaps most shocking to others, she shared her views on death. She wanted flowers and visitors during her life, and she wanted her body used by those who could when she died. When Dolores suffered a fatal fall off a ladder at age 71, her family set out to fulfill her wishes. Her daughter Sandra convinced the doctors to check again about donating her organs, and they were surprised to find that she could give everything – organs, tissue, and corneas. The gifts of life she gave at the holidays that year were truly special. She left a legacy that makes her family terribly proud.

Marcy Nash Maciejewski
Marcy Nash Maciejewski made an impact on this earth that will not be forgotten. She took pride in being a medical-surgical nurse and found it rewarding to teach peritoneal dialysis to patients with chronic kidney disease. Although she died an untimely death at 45, she was able to see her family and enjoy her hometown Chicago in her last days. Marcy was able to donate her kidneys, which gave life back to two mothers whom her family has since met. Her husband Ed is passionate about donation, and The Marsha Nash Maciejewski Scholarship Foundation now assists transplant recipients or their children who are faced with financial hardships to afford better educations.

Katherine “Katie” Belen Marsh
Twelve-year-old Katherine “Katie” Belen Marsh was a beautiful, kind, generous girl who ranked high in schools for the gifted and talented. An avid reader, she had read almost 1,400 books. Katie died on June 22, 2010, from a brain aneurysm. Katherine was able to help save or enhance the lives of eight people with her donation of organs, tissue, and corneas.

T’neil Davon Martin
T’neil Davon Martin was a 17-year-old rising star who eagerly embraced everyone she met with her beautiful smile. On July 13, 2010, T’neil suffered a brain bleed and seven days later, she gave the best of what she had to give of herself by donating organs, tissue and corneas. T’neil was able to save or enhance the lives of four people, give sight to two others, and touch the lives of many more through her gift of tissue. “We will never be able to count the number of people T’neil has truly touched,” said her mother, Denisha Henry. “We know we have honored her legacy through her life-saving gifts.”

Samuel Hannes McCrow
Samuel Hannes McCrow believed in seizing the day. A lover of the natural world in general and the ocean in particular, he planned to commit his life to ocean exploration and conservation. On August 4, 2007, Samuel had a fatal brain hemorrhage while surfing and became an organ donor. He was 17. When Samuel obtained his driver’s license the year before, he had chosen organ donation for the power behind the gift. “It was an easy and obvious decision for someone like Samuel,” said his sister Kristin Eldridge.

John Carlisle McDavid IV
John Carlisle McDavid IV was a champion for those in need, especially children, and volunteered his time at Texas Children’s Hospital. He felt it was his duty to offer assistance and share even a small amount of love to those he encountered.

“From his early days in high school, John had always expressed a desire to be an organ donor,” said his father. After John died on October 1, 2013, at age 40, he became an organ, tissue and cornea donor.

His father confirmed that “John delivered life to several families who were awaiting the grace of God to receive his blessed and beautiful organs. We are comforted by knowing he helped others have life with his unselfish desire to donate his organs.”

Melissa Bena Mercado
Melissa “Lessa” Bena Mercado was named after her grandmothers who were both true fighters with their own health battles. She was born on January 17, 2013 after a high-risk pregnancy. Only six weeks later, Katty Mercado took her daughter Lessa to the hospital with a high fever. The fever came down, and the family left, only to become involved in a tragic car accident that sent everyone back to the hospital. Lessa could not survive, and the Mercados decided to donate her organs so another family would not have to suffer as they had. Lessa was able to save two people’s lives with her heroic gift.

Lisa Michelle Middleton
Lisa “Michelle” Middleton was a quiet, humble woman who was dedicated to her family, friends and work at RTI Surgical in the Sports Medicine Department. On March 5, 2014, Lisa had a sudden cardiac arrest while driving home from work. “As with all of our donors, Lisa became part of the never-ending story of donation,” said her supervisor, Adam Poniatowski, senior operations manager at RTI. “Whenever tissue arrived from recovery, she had treated it with respect for the donor and the donor’s family. Lisa had a big heart and was so giving. Having the chance to save lives through the donation of her heart valves was especially meaningful.”

Kelsey Camille Mikel
Kelsey Camille Mikel was 16 years old and involved in much of the life of her school and community. Kelsey was known as a loving, kind, intelligent, and passionate friend. On Friday, August 20, 2004, Kelsey was going through an intersection when her minivan was hit by two different vehicles. The following morning, Kelsey was declared brain dead. Kelsey’s organ and tissue gifts made it possible for four others to have another chance at life. Knowing that Kelsey was able to continue a legacy of love and service in the lives of her recipients has helped her family to heal.

Troy Jonathan James Pappas
Troy Jonathan James Pappas excelled in the classroom, on the field and the court. At Bates College in Maine, he was in the pre-med track and rostered on the football team. On Sept. 29, 2012, 18-year-old Troy jumped on a stairwell banister to ride it down. He lost his balance, fell three stories, and suffered major head and internal injuries.He was able to save lives by donating six organs, and his left arm and hand were transplanted to improve the lives of recipients. “These people live on because of Troy’s gift of donation,” his mother Mary confirmed. “As his parents, we could not be more proud of him.”

Brandon Pentz
Brandon Pentz lived every day of his 28 years to the fullest. He could often be heard saying:”Go big or go home!” In August 2010, Brandon suffered a traumatic brain injury after an accidental fall. His family began considering organ donation, only to find that Brandon had already registered. Brandon was able to donate his kidneys and liver to save three lives. His skin and heart valves were used to help those in need, and his corneas gave the gift of sight. His parents Oran and Laura have continued his legacy with the Brandon Pentz Memorial Fund. They inspire others with Brandon’s story and know that his spirit of giving lives one.

Amanda Philpott
Amanda Philpott loved animals, bell bottoms, and her nephew Dayton, whom she carried around like a football. She loved to give and was vocal about her deep faith. On November 24, 1996, Amanda and her family went to church in two cars. She and her sister were in an auto accident. Amanda suffered a brain injury and was declared dead three days later. She was 16. Her mother Cheryl Manley remembered a prayer request at church for someone who needed a heart. Although told that it was likely impossible, the donation became a reality. Amanda’s gifts saved the lives of two people, one of them a friend.

Jonathan Pratt
Jonathan Pratt was a beautiful human being whose wish to give of himself as a registered donor was evidence of his giving spirit. It was a decision that brought his family hope and healing after his unexpected death in September 2012. Just 35, Jon was walking and was tragically struck by a hit-and-run driver, a felon on drugs and alcohol. Jon was able to donate his tissue and corneas to help others, but those were not his final gift. On his computer, his parents found his book, “The Purpose and Love Manifesto,” that they were able to publish posthumously. “He continues to be an amazing young man,” they said.

Hannah Daye Ridling
Hannah Daye Ridling had a love for animals and was an avid equestrian, ranked nationally in the discipline of Eventing. On May 23, 2010, 16-year-old Hannah fell from the back of a moving vehicle that she was sitting on and suffered a fatal brain injury. Her gift of four organs gave three people a second chance at life. Two days before signing up to be an organ donor, Hannah wrote: “Whenever I put aside my own needs and put someone else’s before my own, I feel like a better person.” Hannah would have turned 21 on January 1, 2015, when the Donate Life float helps to celebrate her life.

Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo was a typical Staten Island teenager. Just 16, he was a good student, played football and soccer, and dated his first girlfriend. On June 8, 2010, Anthony was struck by an SUV while walking to the school bus stop. He suffered a severe brain injury and spent 11 days on life support before passing away with his loved ones around him. He was able to donate his heart to one man and a part of his liver to a baby who now thrives as a five-year-old. Two others received the gift of sight. According to his mother, Suzann Rizzo, “Anthony was a gift of life. Now his legacy lives on with the recipients of his donation.”

Caleb Roch
Caleb Roch was a relaxed, easygoing young man who loved baseball, eagles, and his girlfriend, Kate. Most of all, he wanted to be a police officer and had participated in his local college and the University of Illinois’ Police Training Institute. He worked mall security and received a national award for saving the life of a baby who had stopped breathing. At 20, Caleb was planning to take his final police test in a year when he was killed in a motorcycle accident. While his organs could not be donated, Caleb was able to donate his corneas, which brought much joy to his mother, Sheila Walters. Sheila has been in touch with Caleb’s two recipients, and has called corresponding with his recipients “the biggest blessing of all.”

Yefreyn Roldan
Yefreyn Roldan was an inquisitive 17-year-old who always had a need to go the extra mile to feed his thirst for knowledge. In August 2011, Yefreyn suffered a heart attack at home despite being completely healthy prior to this incident. Attempts to resuscitate him failed, and Yefreyn died later that day. His family did not hesitate when asked to donate his tissue – skin, bone, and a pulmonary valve that helped a woman in her 20’s. In all, some 61 people benefited from his gifts. “Although it hurt, he was able to do one more charitable deed,” said his mother, Martina Roldan, who is now a very active OneLegacy Ambassador and shares her son’s legacy with the world.

Jaidyn Kiara Rothermel
Jaidyn Rothermel, or Little Bear Cub as her father Douglas called her, was a special three-year-old girl. She had an infectious smile and loved holding “froggies”, playing dancing cowgirls and holding as many Minnie Mouses as her little arms could hold. On Sept. 4, 2011, three-year-old Jaidyn died after a tragic accident. A part of Jaidyn lives on through the gift of her kidneys to two women with children of their own. She also gave her corneas and heart valves. Her grandmother Mary said of her gift, “It helped in my grief that she was able to give something out of her little life, it helped me to know what a grand gift she gave.”

Maria Lourdes “Esperanza” Santana
Maria Lourdes Santana was also known as Esperanza – hope – and she gave that to others over 40 years as a nurse. Born in Leon, Nicaragua, Maria was known for caring for others, including her two sons, Alejandro Parajon and Alfonso Santana. On June 30, 2011, 59-year-old Maria suffered a brain aneurysm, yet she fought to survive six high-risk surgeries. A few months later, she suffered a head trauma and could not be saved. Maria had not known about donation, but her sons made the decision on her behalf. She gave her final gift by saving and enhancing four people’s lives.

Paul J. Sciullo II
Paul J. SciulloII became a police officer and a registered organ donor because he wanted to make a difference in the world. On April 4, 2009 at age 36, Paul was tragically killed in the line of duty and became a tissue donor. He received the highest honor presented by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the Medal of Valor, and the Purple Heartfor his service and sacrifice.

Lareanz Simmons
Lareanz Simmons, 14, was a good student with a knack for algebra. He was in ROTC and had planned to go into the military or become a police officer after high school. Although he had no enemies and had never been in a fight, Lareanz was killed in a drive-by shooting while walking home from a friend’s house. “Lareanz had a great mind, a great heart, and a great love for everyone,” recalled his grandmother, who knew that he would want to be an organ donor. In doing so, he saved the lives of four people. Lareanz has since been honored by the City of Riverside with a memorial bench.

Kevin P. Spiers
Kevin P. Spiers was known for his willingness to help others – family members, friends, or someone he just met. He loved spending time with his best friend on their boat “Wetter Da Better.” After high school, Kevin followed in his late father’s footsteps and enrolled in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ apprenticeship program. After Kevin died on July 16, 2011, at age 22, his family turned their grief into joy by volunteering with the Gift of Life Family House’s ‘Home Cook Heroes’ program. They have also established the Kevin P. Spiers Memorial Scholarship Fund to helps students with tuition at Kevin’s alma maters and ensure Kevin’s legacy lives on.

Ana Mariko Stenzel
Ana Mariko Stenzel was a force of nature throughout her 41 years. Born one of a twin with cystic fibrosis, she received two double lung transplants at ages 28 and 35. Ana enjoyed a full life, earning two degrees, working 16 years as a genetic counselor, traveling and enjoying the outdoors. She and her twin, Isa, published a memoir “The Power of Two: A Twin Triumph over Cystic Fibrosis,” that inspired a documentary film. After her death from metastatic cancer, Ana donated her corneas so that two others could enjoy the sights she had seen. Considering Ana’s image on the float an honor, Isa confirmed that it “eases the grief of her absence by knowing that her gift of sight is another part of her legacy.”

Laci Michelle Taquino
Laci Michelle Taquino was an active, 15-year-old who was known for her humble personality and desire to help others be happy. On August 12, 2006, Laci was home with her boyfriend preparing for the start of their sophomore year. Her mother, Lisa Taquino, snapped a photo of them, and an hour later Laci complained of a terrible headache that proved to be a massive intracerebral hemorrhage from an undiagnosed arteriovenous malformation. Laci was declared brain dead. Lisa remembered conversations with Laci about donation; Laci had signed up to be a donor on her learner’s permit. Laci saved six people that day, and Lisa became a Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA) volunteer to educate others about donation.

Anthony Ruben Vega
Anthony Ruben Vega was born with hydrocephalus that somehow never seemed to affect him physically or mentally. He grew up with a love of singing and dancing and often entertained family and friends. Anthony was only 11 when his health changed and he needed to be hospitalized. On April 19, 2009, he passed away and was able to save three people with the organs he donated and help heal many others with his tissue donation. His father, Giraldo Vega, said that “His last performance was his gift of life. He left us with many beautiful memories and for the recipients he left a part of him that will last a lifetime.”

Pedro Julian Batista Velazquez
Pedro Julian Batista Velazquez was an outgoing 30 year-old who was known as a very giving person who loved his family, music and dangerous sports. On May 29, 2011, Pedro was involved in a four-wheeler accident and airlifted to the hospital. His family stayed by him steadfastly for four days and prayed for a miracle. When he was declared brain dead, the family gave permission for “everything” to be donated. Pedro donated tissue and six organs that saved five lives. His mother Nancy Bermudez said the donation “was the only thing that helped us know that it was ok to say goodbye. My son Pedro is still living on here, helping others.”

R. Darin Wainscott
R. Darin Wainscott’s greatest passions were watching his two children play sports and horse shows, particularly those for quarter horses. Darin was also devoted to his work, his church, and his community. He had signed up to be an organ donor many years prior so that he could help others when the time came. On February 27, 2013, he suffered a sudden, massive brain stem aneurysm and died the next day. His selfless act saved the lives of at least four people and gave two people the gift of sight. His legacy lives on through the Giving Fore Living Foundation, which supports donation awareness and local causes.

Caroline C. Walters
Caroline C. Walters was brought up on her family’s hunting plantation in South Carolina where she was a little bit “country girl” with a lot of “southern lady class.” After graduating from college, she took a position at Deerfield Plantation where she was known to greet guests with a big smile. On October 21, 2012, Caroline was hit by a car; the incident seriously injured her brain. Three days later, she was declared brain dead at the age of 32. The Walters family took comfort in knowing that their sweet Caroline was going to make a difference in the lives of others. Caroline ultimately saved the lives of four people through organ donation and gave sight to another.

Michael Weadock
Michael Weadock was a loving, tender, and caring soul mate to his wife Linda. He also had a special talent making people laugh with a dry, hilarious sense of humor. Mike served his country proudly in the Army’s “Proud Americans” and as an honor guard. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1967 and always spoke with pride about his military service. Shortly after retiring and building their dream house, Mike suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. As a registered donor, he gave life to two people. Linda now actively supports donor awareness and shares Mike’s story whenever she can.

Ethan Troy Williams
Ethan Troy Williams had a childhood friend who needed a kidney transplant. He expressed his desire then to be a donor and confirmed it later by registering online. Ethan grew up to have a dry sense of humor and a love of arcane information. At 39, he was a student and had worked also a project manager with computer software and hardware. On June 6, 2011, he had a cardiac incident, and his desire to donate became a reality. He saved three people, gave sight to two others, and helped 80 more through tissue donation. “We’re so proud of his decision to be a donor,” said Julia Williams, Ethan’s wife.

Christopher Alan Winkel
Christopher Alan Winkel was a caring, energetic young athlete. Throughout his middle and high school years in Michigan, he played on the football, basketball, wrestling and track teams. In July 2009, 26-year-old Christopher moved to Southern California for a job. On November 7, he died unexpectedly and became a tissue and cornea donor, helping more than 70 people to date.

Christian Mor-Ying Yang
Christian Mor-Ying Yang was an eight-year-old boy who brought laughter and love to his family and friends. In October 2012, Christian began experiencing minor headaches that grew worse over time. On October 25, 2013, his siblings found him no longer breathing. A scan showed that he had suffered a brain aneurysm. It had been Christian’s dream to grow up and help children to achieve their dreams and goals. With a huge heart and the will power to help children, Christian saved lives by donating his kidneys, liver, pancreas, and his heart so that his heart valves may be used to replace damaged heart valves in future patients. His mother, Pricilla Yang, said that “His actions and words proved that the life you live can long outlast the time spent on earth.”

Kenyon Youngstrom
Officer Kenyon Youngstrom was passionate about life. A U.S Army veteran, Kenyon had served his community as a California Highway Patrol officer for seven years. He loved doing his job, remembered his wife, Karen. On September 4, 2012, at age 37, Kenyon was shot during a traffic stop. Both he and Karen had registered to be donors, and he was able to save the lives of four people through organ donation and help many others through tissue donation. Karen confirmed that “Kenyon would be proud – proud that he served the community, and proud that he was able to donate his organs and save someone’s life.”

Heidi Zimmer
Heidi Zimmer was a favorite math teacher in her community in Northern California. At 37, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, yet she still went on to receive her master’s degree. Gregarious and funny, she had a “natural ability with kids,” said her mother Barbara Zimmer. Heidi lost her battle with breast cancer and died at 39, but she was able to donate the gift of sight to two women in their 30s, one of whom is a teacher. “Giving someone sight is very rewarding,” Barbara reinforced. “Donation has been a positive experience for our family.”

Alan J. Zinda
Alan Zinda was full of life and shared his love, laughter and kindness with everyone he met. He was only 22 on the night of August 8, 2010, when he died from injuries incurred from a car accident near his home. Alan’s organ gifts saved three people, one of whom lives in Israel and whom his family has met. When Alan signed up to be a donor, he told his mother Beverly Zinda that his organs wouldn’t do him any good when he’s gone and that he’d like to help people if he could. She acknowledged that “It has been comforting to our family to know that something good has come from something so tragic.”