A South Carolina teenager was one of 35 organ donors honored on the annual Donate Life Rose Parade Float this January. Keegan Johnson’s likeness was memorialized with a floragraph, an artistic floral portrait. His parents, brothers and extended family came early to help decorate and place his floragraph front and center.
The floragraph was made possible by We Are Sharing Hope SC and Donate Life South Carolina, with sponsorship from Bridge to Life.
In February 2020, 17-year-old Keegan Johnson, a junior in high school and three-sport athlete with a bright smile suddenly died from an undiagnosed case of bacterial meningitis.
Because he was a donor, his major organs were used to save four lives. His tissue and bones, doctors told the family, helped countless others.
“To see him on that float is amazing, be a part of something big and that’s what he always wanted, to do something big. That’s him,” said Joey Miller, Keegan’s dad.
The Johnson Miller Family now heads a mission to raise awareness about organ donation, and they have created a scholarship in his name.
Now celebrating its 19th year, the Donate Life Rose Parade Float continues to inspire people to register as organ donors. Each year the float features floragraphs of deceased donors while living donors and recipients ride or walk beside the float.
The 2022 float titled “Courage to Hope” shares the courage shown by donor families, living donors and waiting recipients, represented by the winged lion of Piazza San Marco (or Saint Mark’s Square) in Venice, Italy.
The majestic lion holds a book that represents the knowledge that both donor families and grateful recipients share about the importance of saying “YES” to donation.
This year’s float won the “Extraordinaire Award”.
- CBS Los Angeles: 17-Year-Old Organ Donor Honored With Donate Life Rose Parade Float
- Fox Carolina: Upstate teen to be honored in Rose Bowl Parade
- Fox Carolina: Portrait of Upstate teen organ donor ready for Rose Parade float
- Pasadena Star-News: Teen’s smile, voice are missed, but legacy as organ donor will shine anew during Rose Parade
- Pasadena Star-News: ‘Absolutely beautiful’: Organ donor’s parents express deep emotions over Rose Parade float
- The Post and Courier: Rose Parade floragraph honors Upstate SC organ donor
- WLTX: South Carolina family in Rose Bowl parade to honor teen organ donor
- Rapidtelecast: Teen’s Smile, Voice Are Missed, But Legacy As Organ Donor Will Shine Anew During Rose Parade