Four years ago I was given the honor of riding the Donate Life Float in the 2009 Rose Parade. That year, and every year since, I’ve been able to dedicate a rose on the float to Kari. Above is a picture of me placing my roses in 2009. This year, I have the privilege of dedicating two roses to two Iowa girls who loved one another – My donor, Kari, and her friend Alex.
In memory of Kari Westberg: Your beautiful lungs have given me 13 years of life. 13 years of AMAZING life. 30 people who you loved were with me this year – including your Mom & Lys. They, and I, will always love you. Love,Steve
In honor of Alex Redenius: I breathe with Kari’s beautiful lungs. You were her friend. Meeting you, I knew you were special. I never imagined how special you’d be. Thank you for my new kidney, Mabel. Love you for always, Steve
I have a lot more to say to either of them than would ever fit in a dedication limited to 200 characters (including spaces). I guess one way to limit my ability to go on-and-on is to limit my characters. But, please don’t mention that to Laura – she could find a way to enforce that limit regularly! (And, you may notice that both dedications are exactly 200 characters, including spaces.)
Now through December 23rd, you too can dedicate a rose for the low-low price of $30 – and your dedicated rose will be placed in the Donate Life Dedication Garden on the front of the Donate Life Float that will be in the Rose Parade on January 1st, 2013. You can dedicate roses to someone who has given, or received, or awaits the gift of life. A link that will guide you through the dedication process is here:
Below is a rendition of the 2013 Donate Life Float, “Journeys of the Heart”…
The ups and downs of life teach us many lessons, with those experienced through organ and tissue donation and transplantation being among the most profound. Donor families pass through grief on the way to peace and remembrance; living donors step forward to give love and life to others; and transplant recipients courageously move forward from harrowing illness to health and gratitude. Though our paths vary from the places we start, we are all connected on our Journeys of the Heart.
Inspired by the 2013 Rose Parade® theme "Oh, the Places You'll Go!™," the tenth Donate Life Rose Parade float entry will transport 32 riders representing deceased organ, eye and tissue donors, living donors, and transplant recipients through a magical, heart-filled world encompassing the highs and lows that life has to offer. A pathway of looping hearts is lined with 72 memorial floragraph portraits of deceased donors who are remembered every step of the way. The float's collection of joyful hearts representing the new life made possible by transplantation is grounded by a reverent dedication garden filled with roses bearing personal messages honoring those who make the gift of life possible. The journey peaks with overlapping red and purple hearts representing the love and courage that define humanity at its best.