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.
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.