A Rose Parade float will honor the life of Blue Valley High School coach Eric Driskell.
Driskell, 43, became an organ donor in February suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm. He will be remembered along with 44 other donors with a floragraph, a portrait made of organic materials, on the Donate Life Rose Parade float.
On Thursday, Driskell's wife and two young daughters put the finishing touches on that portrait as a small reception of players, coaches, and this school community gathered here to remember the impact coach had on the people who loved him.
Celebrating its 15th year of participating in the parade, the Donate Life Rose Parade float is the centerpiece of a national effort of more than 50 organizations to reach a broad audience with the simple, life-giving message that organ, eye and tissue donation saves and heals lives.
This year’s float entry, The Gift of Time, reflects the parade’s theme of Making a Difference by celebrating the power of kindness and the generous acts of people throughout the world, who are making a positive difference in the lives of others.
Driskell and the 44 other donors were selected by the Midwest Transplant Network.
“He continues to make a big impact by being a donor," said Brooke Connell with the Midwest Transplant Network. "He was able to donate his kidney, liver, and was a full tissue donor and he was able to save lives.”
“Nationally there are nearly 120,000 people waiting to receive a life-saving heart, liver, lung, kidney or pancreas transplant, but there are simply not enough donors to meet the growing need,” said Jan Finn, Midwest Transplant Network CEO. “More than 35,000 lifesaving transplants were performed in the United States last year, but tragically 22 people still die each day while waiting for a lifesaving organ donation. It is our hope that this float calls attention to this message and motivates others to register to be a donor.”
Coach Driskell and his family were also included in this Midwest Transplant Calendar for the month of September in 2018.
The Gift of Time float depicts a vibrantly colored, tropical backdrop that dates back to the ancient civilizations of Mexico.
It celebrates the gift of life as 16 costumed riders sit alongside the jungle, against stone carvings, drawing on the strength they have gained from their donors to continue and thrive on life’s journey.
The monumental Aztec calendar draws the eye to the center of the float where donors will honored.
Alongside the float, eight living donors and recipients will carry baskets of fruit and flowers in celebration of the renewed life they have shared with one another and the world.
A single organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and improve the lives of as many as 75 more by donating their corneas and tissue.
The Donate Life Float will be on display in Pasadena, California on New Year’s Day.
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