Since 2004, the Donate Life Float entries in the Rose Parade have served as an annual tribute to organ and tissue donors. The idea of Rose Parade Donation Theme floats originated by Gary Foxen, a transplant recipient who also happened to be a Rose Parade volunteer. He’d been trying “to find a way to repay society for this wonderful gift of life”.

The goal of each Donate Life float is to create an opportunity for donor families, living donors and transplant recipients to inspire the world to save and heal those in need through the gift of life.

Each year one organ, eye and tissue donor from South Carolina is honored with a floragraph (floral portrait) on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. Caroline Walter was chosen for the 2015 parade, and thanks to a grant from Bridge to Life, Caroline’s family and several friends were able to attend the decoration float activities. Their experience is documented below.

The 2015 float titled “The Never-Ending Story” featured butterflies emerging from storybooks to symbolize the enduring power of organ, eye and tissue donation.

2015 rose parade float

The Donate Life float and its honored participants are the centerpiece of a national campaign that lead up to the 2015 Rose Parade, themed “Inspiring Stories.” The Rose Parade takes place every January 1.

Aaron Gilchrist, Global Sales Director

Aaron Gilchrist, Global Sales Director, speaking at the Donate Life Rose Parade event.

The 2018 float was built for the theme
“The Gift of Time”

2018 float - The Gift of Life

2018 float – The Gift of Life


Aaron Hearts for Heroes

Aaron Gilchrist with the “Hearts for Heroes” artwork that Maureen Lewis donates to the families of donors who gave their lives and organs to the transplant recipients that are featured on the float.

Aaron Rose Parade

Pictured here is Aaron Gilchrist, Global Business Director of Bridge to Life with the Floragraph of SC honoree Sharon Schultz Lucas and her family who traveled with us all the way to Pasadena for the '16 event.

Pictured here is Aaron Gilchrist, Global Sales Director of Bridge to Life with the Floragraph of SC honoree Sharon Schultz Lucas and her family who traveled with us all the way to Pasadena for the ’16 event.

Organization Resources

Donate Life Rose Parade FloatLearn more

How an Innovative, Integrated Public Awareness Campaign effectively reaches a worldwide audience – OneLegacy Article

Float HistorySee photos of all previous float designs