2018 Floragraph Honorees
Meet our heroic organ, eye and tissue donors.
Aidan Hooper had a way of creating adventure out of everything he did. He had a huge, loving heart and he was quick to share that love. He was always conscious of others’ feelings and was a best friend to everyone. Growing up, he learned to appreciate service men and women, and he learned to be kind to others. Aidan loved practicing taekwondo with his dad, and he took lessons to achieve a camo belt. Combining his love for his country and Taekwondo, Aidan had the chance to ride on his Taekwondo school’s float as part of the LibertyFest parade in Edmond, Oklahoma. At the end of the parade, a tragic accident occurred and Aidan was unable to survive. His family was determined to find the good in such a heartbreaking moment, and they decided to donate Aidan’s tissue. Thanks to this gift, Aidan helped save the lives of a two-year-old girl and a six-month-old girl.Born in 1988 in Colorado, Alexandra J. Barnes was a shy, modest girl who blossomed into a brilliant, educated, confident, strong-willed, and opinionated woman. One of her greatest assets was her ability to give freely and love unconditionally. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 16, she fought harder for everything she accomplished; she was loyal, with a strong, extraordinary work ethic. She refused to let her disease define her; instead, she owned it with a sense of dignity beyond her years. Her dream to live in New York, accomplished right after college, displayed her drive and self-motivation. In 2015, she produced her first short film, “All Ye Faithful” and the Instagram blog “Alexandrogynous”. She was considered one of Brooklyn's Coolest Up and Coming Stylists the very day she died of cardiac arrest at the age of 26. A registered donor since she was 16, Alexandra wanted to help others through donation. Thanks to her gift, her legacy continues with the lives she saved.As a 9-year-old girl, Alyssa Kennedy Potratz was known by her friends and family as a quirky, caring, fun loving little girl with an infectious smile. She loved to play with her twin brother Jeremy. She also had a passion for poetry, coloring, playing soccer and piano, eating sushi, and just being silly. Her favorite activity was Girl Scouts. She enjoyed spending time with her troop, doing crafts, singing the Friendship song, and going on campouts. When she wasn’t fishing at her family’s cottage in Wisconsin, she loved to travel with her mom, dad, and Jeremy. On July 4th, 2008, Alyssa suddenly passed away from an undiagnosed heart issue. To honor Alyssa’s spirit of giving, her parents decided to donate her tissues, allowing two people to gain the gift of sight.Andrew was full of life; he never missed a chance to make someone smile or laugh. Sometimes his antics were a little over the top, but that was his personality. In February of 2007, Andrew went to the DMV to replace his lost driver’s license. He was asked by the clerk if he wanted to be an organ donor. He said “yes.” Four short months later, on June 26th, 2007, he suffered a severe head injury. There was no chance of recovery. His family knew his wish was to be an organ donor, and through his gift, he helped save four lives. His heart went to Patrick, a 55 year old man, who in the past 10 years has seen his son marry and welcomed a grandchild into the world.Drew Lienemann was 18 years old when he passed away. He was handsome, well liked, athletic, smart, funny, kind, and extremely strong in his Christian faith. He was a black belt in taekwondo and was undefeated in sparring competitions covering 29 states. He loved to work out and was very athletic and disciplined. Although he had just started his second semester of his senior year in high school when he died, he still had enough credit hours to not only graduate from high school, but also reach the sophomore year in college, thanks to his college credits. Drew signed up to be an organ donor when he was 16 years old. He was able to donate his kidneys, corneas, heart valve, skin and connective tissue. These donations have helped 194 people so far all over the United States and other countries.Angela’s vibrant personality made her unforgettable in the hearts and minds of her family, friends and everyone she encountered. She lived every day of her 38 years to the fullest. She loved singing, dancing, and acting. Angie also cared deeply about helping others, especially those she felt could not help themselves. She was known to give her own time, talents, and treasures to help people in need, doing everything possible to help provide food and shelter to the less fortunate. Blessed with a beautiful, uplifting voice, Angie sang in the choir, worked in the nursery and was a member of the Drama Group at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit. In 2009, Angie became a nurse and specialized in pediatric nursing. In November 2010, Angela suffered an asthma attack that proved fatal. She had already made the decision to register as a donor, and her tissues and organs helped save and improve the lives of many.Angelo Torres Jr. always stood for giving back to his community, putting others’ needs before his own, and demonstrating a sense of humility that personified the idea of selfless love. His life was spent volunteering with underprivileged children and giving them a much-needed dose of homeliness and comfort, while making sure his younger brother and sister were happy, healthy, and leading lives that were productive and honest. Angelo grew up with a solid foundation of respect and hard work, thanks to the support of his family. He was a softball coach to his sister’s team, and a baseball coach to his cousin’s team. Angelo’s gift of life through organ donation helped saved six people, who now have a second chance at life, thanks to this generous gift.Anna’s name means “grace” and that is exactly what she brought to others each day. She deeply believed that God had a purpose and plan for her life, and even in life’s disappointments, she was able to quickly pick herself up and overcome adversity with joy. Anna was filled with grace, joy, perseverance, resolve, patience, and love. She loved her family and her siblings, and she enjoyed playing piano and sharing her passion for music with others. As a proud Texan, Anna loved horses and she enjoyed riding her two horses, and volunteering at SIRE, a therapeutic horse riding organization. She attended Lone Star College with the goal of working at a large animal vet clinic. At the time of her death, she was working as a wrangler at Cypress Trails Equestrian Center. Anna died when she was 24 because of a brain injury, after being thrown from a horse. Her family takes comfort in knowing she died doing something she deeply loved. Upon her death, it was only fitting for her family to honor her selfless spirit by saying ‘Yes’ to donating her organs, giving a second chance at life to five people in need.Austin lived each day to the fullest for 19 years. He had a heart of gold and his smile would lift spirits. His laugh was contagious. He kept all who knew him laughing with his never-ending humor and practical jokes. Austin enjoyed all sports, but his passion was football, and he played it all 12 years of school. He was also an outdoor enthusiast and spent as much time outdoors as possible. When Austin signed up for his driver’s license in 2011, he was adamant about being a donor, which fit his compassion for others. His family never imagined that on December 8, 2012, Austin would fall 100 feet off a bluff while camping. Medical staff tried to save Austin’s life, but he was not able to survive, donating his corneas and tissue.Bonnie Walker enlisted in the United States Navy after graduating from high school and was assigned to dental school once she completed her basic training. The Dental Office at the Naval Station in San Diego was where she met her husband of 42 years. After marrying, Bonnie retired from the military and became a stay-at-home mother to her five children. Bonnie loved to watch parades, and every New Year’s Day, her family would watch the Rose Parade. The floats were her favorite and being on one would have “tickled her pink.” At the age of 63, Bonnie passed away from cardiac arrest. She was able to donate her corneas, which gave the gift of sight to two individuals. Bonnie is survived by her husband, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.Brooke had an amazing smile, a loud contagious laugh, a profound love for others, and life that brought joy to all who met her. She was voted homecoming queen of her high school and won a State Championship with her cheer team. She maintained a 3.7 GPA at the University of Central Florida and was a sister of Kappa Delta Sorority. After Brooke was struck by a vehicle while crossing a road near campus, her family honored her wish to be an organ donor, donating her heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and corneas. Brooke’s family learned after her passing that she had given a presentation for school the prior semester on the importance of organ donation titled, “Have a Heart, Give a Heart.” They have also met two of Brooke’s organ recipients.DRIVER. BROTHER. FIANCÉ. DOG LOVER. SON. CHAMPION. HERO. DONOR. At just 27 years old, that is the legacy that Bryan Clauson left for his family, friends, and fans. Behind his fame as one of the nation’s top short-track, dirt-car drivers, Bryan was always humble, gracious and the ultimate role model. Expecting nothing in return, he had a knack for making everyone around him feel welcomed and important. On the darkest day of his family’s life, a selfless decision Bryan made while still alive gave them a ray of hope. Bryan was a registered donor. On August 7, 2016, following a racecar crash, Bryan saved five lives and healed many more through his gift of organ and tissue donation. Bryan continues to be an inspiration to many. As a donor, he has motivated over 6,000 people to register their donation decision, which could lead to countless other lives saved.Christian Shay Nelson was born in 1994. Growing up, Christian made beautiful memories for those lucky enough to know him. He was a graduate of Lafayette High School and was attending South Louisiana Community College. Christian's passions were singing, playing guitar, and the New Orleans Saints. Christian was a very giving person, and he registered as an organ donor the day he got his driver’s license. At the young age of 19, Christian was in a workplace accident, where he suffered a massive brain injury. That day he became a hero by donating his organs, tissue and corneas. With his gift of life, Christian saved four people, including a small child, a teenager and two women. He also enhanced the lives of so many through his corneas and tissue donation.In her short 25 years on earth, Claire Sundgren gained a reputation as being a “badass Alaskan woman” who gravitated toward things like snow machines and stock car racing. Claire’s family and friends remember her as “pure, simple, and beautiful.” She was always ready to help her family haul, chop, and stack wood, like a true Alaskan woman and in the tradition of her Alaska Native ancestors. She was an extraordinary woman, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Claire was a registered donor, so her mom did not hesitate to agree to donation when she received the call on April 3, 2016. Through her gift of tissue and cornea donation Claire has touched the lives of 69 people, and helped restore the sight of an 83-year-old woman.Edward Mason was an amazing young man. Everyone that knew him, loved him; he was selfless and helpful. He loved sports, fishing and riding horses. He had the best sense of humor and was always making his family laugh. When Eddie was 18, he had a seizure and was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. He started taking anti-seizure medication, but still had seizures from time to time. When he was 35, Eddie’s health deteriorated and he was placed on the waiting list for a kidney. His mom was tested to donate her kidney, and she was a match. Surgery was set for July 20, 2011, but on June 30, 2011, Eddie suffered a seizure and he didn’t recover. His gift of tissue, bone and corneas helped heal 40 people.Eric Driskell is described as a man of faith, compassion, love, and courage. When he suddenly passed away in February 2017 from a ruptured brain aneurysm, his family was not surprised to learn that he had made the decision to give to others as an organ, eye, and tissue donor. He was the head football coach at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, KS, where he also played. He was a great husband and a father, married for 15 years and blessed with two daughters. “Eric was a shining example of good in the world,” said his wife Kari. In addition to donation, as a head high school football coach and teacher, his impact continues to be felt by many. More than 3,000 people gathered to celebrate and honor his life at his memorial service.Giovanni Valle was a thirteen-year-old boy who had many goals and dreams for the future. He was kind, loving and full of life, and he always looked for ways to help others. Gio was a great student; he took honors classes, played soccer in his spare time, and played the trombone in his school band. Giovanni’s love for drawing and his passion for helping others in need made him hope to study architecture after graduating from high school, so he could eventually design and help build housing for the homeless and needy. Gio died one morning while on his way to school, when an intoxicated driver struck him after crossing a red light. His parents wanted to honor Gio’s giving spirit and they decided to donate his tissue. Thanks to this generous gift, Giovanni has provided hope and healing to many through his donation.Glen Patrick Haenelt, was born Oct 16, 1987 in Bakersfield, CA. Glen was a gifted athlete. He was passionate about baseball, whether he was playing first base or watching the Dodgers. Glen was also focused on physical fitness and nutrition. Besides baseball, he loved to play golf with his brother, fish, and walk his dogs. Glen had a kind heart and infectious smile. He was a devoted husband, son, brother, and best friend to all who knew him. Glen died in an accident at age 28. It was no surprise that he was a registered donor. He was a giving person and it made sense that he would want to better the lives of others after he passed.Grace Meredyth Lovegrove was a vibrant, quirky girl who dearly loved people, drawing, singing, and sports. She was a trusting soul who volunteered her time during church mission trips and as a youth camp counselor. Through her love of running, she found her niche in middle and high school. Teammates recalled how, as team captain, Grace pushed them hard on a hot training run—and then ended it at a snow cone stand where she treated everybody. After graduating from High School, she found a new home at Christopher Newport University, just missing the dean’s list her first semester. When Grace was just in middle school, she made a collage that included a “Recycle yourself. Be an organ & tissue donor” sticker. She let her family know she was serious about the sentiment. So when she went into cardiac arrest on a training run, and was declared brain dead shortly after, her parents already knew what Grace wanted. Her gift of life helped four people in Virginia who now have a second chance at life.From the time he was born, you could see into Jared’s eyes and know he was an old soul. For a seventeen-year-old he had incredible wisdom beyond his years. He had such great respect for nature and for all living things. He had a kind nature and a caring heart. Jared loved animals and had a passion to ride dirt bikes, quads, and his Jeep Grand Cherokee. He loved any adventure, from hiking in the woods, to snowboarding on a mountain. Jared was going into his senior year of high school when a tragic incident occurred; Jared always wanted to help others and believed in organ donation. Thanks to his gift of life, Jared saved 6 lives. His parents made the decision to donate and they knew he would have wanted it that way. He would have made that same decision.Jason Murphy was an active young man who loved his friends, his family, and golf. People could always count on Jason to help others and to be a role model for his younger neighbors and cousins. Jason played baseball and golf in High School. His parents, both teachers, were proud of his accomplishments in athletics and in the classroom. With great support, Jason graduated and enrolled in college, majoring in golf course management. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. Tragically, on June 27, 2003, Jason was been severely injured in a car accident. After days in the hospital, it was determined he had a traumatic head injury and would not recover. Jason’s parents already knew he had decided to sign up as a donor when he got his drivers license at age 16. He told them in a dinner table conversation that he thought it was “the right thing to do.” The night of his death, they honored his decision, and he saved three lives through the donation of his kidneys, liver, pancreas and heart.Jeff was a firefighter, paramedic, and nurse for 24 years. He was a natural at helping and aiding his fellow human beings. He never complained about his career or the people he assisted over the years. Jeff’s career put him in perilous, life threatening situations. He was grace under pressure at every turn. Jeff volunteered at his local church every year for 17 years, taking youth on canoeing trips around Alaska. He shared his experience as an outdoorsman, firefighter, and nurse with his community, and he inspired young people with his work and experience. Upon his death, Jeff was a donor and his donated tissue helped heal many people. His final farewell on earth was to help others through his gift of life.Jennifer was born April 14, 1989 in Mission Viejo, CA. She captured her family’s hearts from the very beginning with her beautiful soft spirit, her grace, and her ability to connect with other people. Her eyes were an incredible, beautiful blue color, hair streaked with golden blonde strands, and a smile that would warm your heart. Jennifer had a lifelong passion for animals and loved horseback riding. She also had a remarkable talent for expressing herself through her creative writing. Unfortunately, Jennifer experimented with marijuana in her early teens and progressed to other drugs as time passed. She was just out of rehab, when she died of an accidental overdose. Her family decided to donate her organs. Thanks to this gift, Jennifer’s kidneys gave a second chance at life to two men in Arizona, and her liver helped save the life of a man from Inglewood, California.On October 11, 2004, John Lefferts died at the age of 22 due to an undetected aneurysm. He was an amazing young man with life ahead of him. Throughout his 22 years, he gathered friends from all aspects of his life and brought them together. He had just started school, hoping to fulfill his dream of being a massage therapist. John’s parents raised him and his sister, Eleanor, in central Illinois. John was in his school’s Jazz Band and played the saxophone. He was also a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan, and his family dedicated a brick with his name on Busch Stadium’s sidewalk. Upon his death, John’s gift of life touched 37 people, and his family keeps John’s memory alive by promoting organ, eye, bone and tissue donation.Joseph Anthony Lizana, Jr. (Joe) was a selfless caregiver, a great storyteller and a fighter in the face of adversity. After being in a motorcycle accident at age 16, Joe suffered a traumatic brain injury, skull fracture and the loss of hearing in his left ear. Despite the struggle with memory loss due to his injuries, he was able to graduate along with his classmates in 1969. That year was also filled with grief and uncertainty, when his father suffered a cardiac arrest at work and died at the age of 42. Joe worked as a welder for 13 years and as an apartment manager for 20 years until his death. He loved traveling, photography and four wheeling in the desert. Even in his death, he continued helping others, and his bone donation alone helped improve the lives of 65 people.Kaitlyn was born on May 12, 1993. Growing up, Kaitlyn loved to dance, sing, laugh, and dress up her younger sister for her own amusement. She was a great student, an amazing friend and a caring sister. After finishing high school, she wanted to pursue her passion of being a neonatal nurse and she worked two jobs and babysat to earn extra money for shopping and going out with her friends. On November 17, 2013, Kaitlyn’s life changed in a matter of minutes. What seemed as a fun, typical girl’s night out took a turn for the worst. She was in a car accident and after the doctors did everything possible to save her, her brain was too damaged, and she was unable to wake up. Her family stayed hopeful, but after realizing she was not going to wake up again, Kaitlyn's family decided to donate her organs. Her heart, corneas, kidneys, liver and pancreas helped give the gift of life to others in need.Kelly was born in 1987. He graduated from Breaux Bridge Senior High in 2005 where he played football and basketball. After graduation, he joined the US Air Force and followed family tradition by becoming a firefighter. Kelly served two years in the Middle East and upon his return to the U.S. he lived in Mississippi as an active firefighter for the Air Force. He later returned to Breaux Bridge to be close to his family. Kelly had an amazing personality and infectious laughter. At the age of 25, Kelly suffered traumatic brain injury from a tragic accident. His impact on people in his lifetime and his accomplishments left his family and friends proud. He was a registered donor and he helped save five lives and restore sight to two more.Konrad had lived his dream. He graduated from Stanford University and went on to play in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens, two goals that he had set for himself when he was a child. Konrad took his profession very seriously and was in the best shape of his life. Everything that he did was calculated. He ate right and worked out every day. Konrad was a large young man standing 6'6" and weighing 270 lbs. The oldest of three boys, he was the "glue" of the family. Last year, while filling out his driving license renewal, Konrad asked his mom, Mary, whether she was a registered donor, and after discussing the importance of donation with her, he decided to register as a donor, too. Eight months later, Konrad felt a "click" in his head followed by an intense headache. It was discovered that he had a brain aneurysm. He survived for 12 days, in a coma, never regaining consciousness. Konrad was always quick to lend a helping hand when it was needed, and as a donor, his gift of life helped save three people. His heart and kidney saved the life of baseball legend, Rod Carew, who will also be honored as a rider on our float.Landon Merritt O'Neal Palmer, from Council Bluffs, Iowa, was born in October 2015 but was only 8 days old when he was taken from this Earth. He was the first-born grandchild on both sides. On October 14, a healthy, baby boy made a grand entrance into the world. His parents brought him home to cuddle, snuggle, and love. However, just a few days later, Landon went into cardiac arrest. After being resuscitated by medical staff, Landon’s brain suffered severe damage, and he was not able to recover. During that difficult time, his parents decided to donate Landon’s organs and tissue. They hoped they could help another family in need, and have a part of Landon live on through donation. Today, on October 14, Landon’s parents will honor him with a birthday celebration and celebration of life party. They have been doing this every year to celebrate his ultimate gift of life.Logan Brett Leone, lovingly known as "Smash" because he smashed everything in his path, passed away at the young age of 2½ years old. Despite his adventurous nature, he was well mannered, and always sure to say "please" and "thank you." Logan's infectious smile and his cute, little dimple will always be remembered by everyone who met him. Before his passing, Logan’s parents held him in their arms as they said their final goodbyes to their beloved son, and they both made the difficult, but selfless decision to save others' lives by donating Logan's liver, kidneys, and heart valves. Their courageous act of love for their son has saved several lives, including the life of a toddler who was in desperate need of a liver. Logan’s legacy will continue to shine brightly through “Logan’s Light Children’s Humane Education Program” in Brighton, Michigan, a program that educates children about animal care, empathy and respect towards animals.Luke David Bautista was born on April Fool’s Day 2001. He brought love and laughter to everyone he encountered during his 15 years of life. He was kind, caring, funny, unique, adventuresome and creative. He loved music, attended countless rock concerts and was an aspiring drummer. Luke’s light continues to live on through organ donation. He provided 5 lifesaving gifts (his heart, both kidneys, liver and pancreas). He was also able to gift his descending thoracic aorta, which aided in the creation of dialysis ports, and his skin and tissue donations have helped close to 100 people. He is truly a hero in the eyes of his friends and family, not only through his gift of life, but also because of the impact he had on so many. It is so fitting for Luke to be included on the “Gift of Time” Donate Life Rose Parade float because Luke’s impact and inspiration are truly timeless.Major Benjamin “Chex” Meier always wanted to be an Air Force pilot. He succeeded in his goal, flying combat missions over Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. His heroic actions earned him the 2013 U.S. Air Forces in Europe Daedalian award. In 2013, he was also handpicked to be an F-35 test pilot, which will undoubtedly save future American service members’ lives. In 2015, while on his morning run, Chex was struck in the head by the mirror of a passing truck. He was declared brain dead less than 24 hours later. He was able to donate his heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, saving the lives of yet another five people. Ben is survived by his wife, two young sons, two sisters and their families, and parents who will forever miss him.Malaikye Thomas Payne was born March 29, 2010. Malaikye was also known as Kye and he was a happy, vibrant and feisty little boy. He could light up a room with his amazingly contagious smile. He brought immense joy to those around him, and his family knew he was destined for greatness. After his tragic death and through his gift of donation, baby Kye ended up saving the lives of four people, ranging from 9 months to 65 years of age and including two small children like Kye, who received a second chance at life. Malaikye, as his family thought, was indeed destined for greatness—he died a hero at 17 months old, saving the lives of four people, and his spirit lives on in his recipients and in his loved ones’ hearts.With a bigger than life personality and a smile that would light up any room, Matthew Lee Pettegrew brought joy to his family’s lives. After playing football and graduating from high school, he started working as a Corporal with the Morongo Indian Casino. This was fitting, as Matthew is a descendant in a long line of the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe. His jovial personality gained him many friends who loved, admired and respected him. Matthew’s generosity with his friends may have ultimately cost him his life. While he was coming home from the casino after staying late with coworkers to help them with a barbecue, Matthew fell asleep while driving, and had a fatal crash. He was only 28 years old. Matthew was a registered donor and he was always proud of his mom’s job at the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation. Through his tissue donation, Matthew helped heal over 60 lives.Melissa Owen’s life was surrounded by color and animation. As a graphic artist, she enjoyed all the sights and sounds of movies, dance, and theatre. She grew up practicing competitive ice-skating, modeling, achieving academic and leadership goals, and participating in school cheer and dance spirit squads. Spending quality time with her young son Wesley and pampering her two dachshunds completed her life. Sadly, on Christmas Eve 2014, a brain aneurysm, quickly followed by a serious stroke, took Melissa’s life at the age of thirty-eight. She had signed up as an organ donor at her local DMV, and a decision that seemed so natural to her resulted in a tremendous gift for three young women, who received Melissa’s heart and lungs. A couple of years later, Melissa’s family met Yolanda, Melissa’s heart recipient, and since their first meeting they have created an instant bond and united the two families. Both Yolanda and Melissa will be honored in the 2018 Rose Parade float.Olivia Lauryn Didway was seventeen years old and entering into her senior year in High School. She lived a life full of purpose and exuberance, and she was a faithful and kind friend. Those who knew her speak of her contagious laughter, sweet spirit, and vibrant personality. Olivia loved Audrey Hepburn movies, photography, and running. On June 27, 2014, a tragic vehicle accident took her life and forever changed the lives of everyone who knew and loved her. Olivia’s compassion and willingness to help others continued even in her passing. Her decision at age sixteen to register as an organ and tissue donor blessed her recipients with the precious Gift of Life. Through organ donation, Olivia saved five lives: a teenage boy received her heart, two men in their 50’s received her kidneys, a 27-year-old man received her liver, and her lungs saved a 61 year old grandmother.March 11 1994. That was the date when Pablo “Jun” Dizon Jr. died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Born in the Philippines, Jun graduated from high school in his hometown, and then moved to Manila to study accounting. After graduating, he worked in his country before moving to the U.S. to continue his career. Jun got married in 1980 to Tessie and they were blessed with two wonderful children; Mark and Mary Anne, who were 13 and 11 years old when he passed. Jun was always full of life, and he cherished his family and friends. Jun was a registered donor, and his family knew his wishes. Even though he was not able to donate his organs, he became a tissue donor and helped heal many lives through his donation. Jun’s wife continues promoting the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. Prior to her retirement in 2016, she worked at Methodist Hospital of Southern California for over 36 years, helping implement and improve the organ donation program at that hospital.It was hard to find Parker Lang without a smile on his face. He was active, with an eagerness to explore and experience the world around him. Parker took an easygoing approach to life and enjoyed making others laugh. He loved animals, playing video games, and eating. He had a sensitive spirit, got along with everyone, and built meaningful relationships with his friends. After graduating from High School, Parker worked at a local pet food store and enrolled in college, with the goal of becoming a doctor. On March 9, 2016, Parker was struck by a car while walking home from work on a busy street. Months earlier, while renewing his ID, Parker said yes to donation, and this decision saved five lives, and heal many more.Paul F. Gomez had just graduated from his local high school a year before his death. He loved his family, and he would always make sure to get back home in time every day, to enjoy dinner with his mom and little sister. He had a great laugh, and good sense of humor. Paul loved to dance and loved music. He often spent time teaching his sister the latest dance he had learned. He was always researching the next big music and dance trend. During his 18 ½ years of life, he touched many people through his generosity. Paul’s family said yes to organ donation because they knew that was what Paul would have wanted. They had discussed organ donation with him, but he had never made it official. Thanks to his gift of corneas and tissue, Paul was able to help heal lives.Growing up, Reinaldo García was a very healthy and active boy, who, early in life, demonstrated a high degree of intelligence, curiosity, and the ability to play sports. He started playing T-ball when he was only five, and he continued playing baseball through high school and college, until he had to devote more time to his college studies. He finished his BA in Education in New Jersey and became a very successful Physical Education at a local High School in Newark. He was beginning his sixth year as a teacher when death suddenly surprised him on September 2011. Reinaldo had a very pleasant personality and was very passionate about everything in life. He loved to coach younger athletes and volunteer for all kind of events and activities. Offering Reinaldo’s tissue and corneas for donation is the most important decision his family has ever made. Knowing that a part of Reinaldo is still living in someone else gives his family the strength to continue their lives.Robert had the biggest heart. He was passionate about life and was a great storyteller. He was a mentor to many, living his life with true compassion. He loved sports and music, especially classic rock, and he was an avid Raiders fan. He was married for 37 years to the love of his life. He was a beloved son, brother, husband, father, friend, and now grandfather. Since 2006, Robert worked for the Department of Motor Vehicles, providing soft skills training for DMV employees. His family knew that he wanted to be a donor, and he actively participated in events like the Donate Life Run/Walk to support donation. When he died after complications following a heart surgery to repair a birth defect, his family did not imagine he could be a donor. Thanks to his gift of life, Robert helped over 40 people across the U.S. through his tissue, bone and corneal donation.Ruth's warmth, love, kindness and grace live on in those who have received her gifts through donation. The recipients of Ruth's tissue and bone allografts received portions of a truly beautiful woman, both inside and out. Ruth devoted her life to nurturing her family, her spirit, her relationships, and her community. She served at her church, the VFW, the local food shelf, local hospitals, and numerous other volunteer endeavors. She kept her life very full and never shied away from hard work. She enjoyed Minnesota lake life, fishing, cooking, gardening, learning, creating and spending time with her grandchildren, family and many friends. In life, Ruth's positive attitude and thoughtful, caring nature touched everyone she met. Although the vacancy created by her absence will forever be unfilled, her sparkle remains alive in the hearts of her family and the many lives she touched through her donation.Sara Beth Stelzer was only 18 years old and a freshman at San Diego State University when she passed away. Her family thought she had the flu, but meningitis took her from them only 36 hours from her first symptoms. As a young girl growing up in Moorpark, CA, Sara was quirky, funny and confident. As a straight-A student and class clown, she strived for the best academically, while inspiring the most contagious laughter. She had a passion for government affairs and wanted to create a better future for her peers. Like so many other 16 year olds, Sara applied to receive her driver’s license. After discussing it with her parents, she decided to sign up as a donor when she filled out her application. Two short years later, Sarah saved the lives of five people through organ donation. Even in death, she made a positive impact to the world around her.On April 2007, and after seeing an Alabama Organ Center PSA, Savannah’s family made the decision to donate. While her parents registered online, Savannah learned about donation and insisted that she wanted to become a donor, because she would not need her organs when she would get to heaven. Little did her parents know that exactly one month later, they would lose Savannah in a tragic car accident. When the doctors told her dad that there was no brain activity, he remembered her words, “I won’t need them when I get to Heaven.” Savannah's selfless decision saved seven lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. She loved all people unconditionally. Her decision to donate has led her parents to share her story and advocate for organ donation.