OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — With the holidays upon us, right now is a perfect time to reflect on one of the greatest gifts you can ever receive– which is the gift of life.
Every year, LifeShare of Oklahoma helps sponsor the Donate Life float in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Los Angeles. Two Oklahomans will be honored on this year’s float.
“That small gift of giving what she had and was no longer gonna need, she was able to make a huge difference for others,” said Dana Johnson, Shelby’s mom.
This is the 10th year LifeShare of Oklahoma has helped sponsor the Donate Life float to spread the message about organ, eye, and tissue donation.
“We really want people to understand that what organ donation makes possible is the continuation of life and the celebration of life,” said Jeff Orlowski, LifeShare President and CEO.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to tell the story of a donation and the importance of donation. It’s also a great opportunity for us to honor our donors and our recipients,” Orlowski said.
As a sponsor, LifeShare can send one recipient to ride the float and one donor portrait to be honored on the float.
Karen Hoyt of Tulsa received a liver donation in 2015. She will be riding in the float.
A portrait of Shawnee’s Shelby Johnson will also be featured.
Shelby passed away from a car accident 18 months after she got her driver’s license. Shelby had made the decision to become an organ donor when she first got her license.
“We knew exactly what she wanted. There was no doubt in our minds. When it was time to make that decision, we were proud to do that for her,” Johnson said. “She was able to donate kidneys, pancreas, liver, heart valve and heart stems and some other tissue options.”
Shelby’s mom says her gift of life went on to help at least three other people.
“I would just like to encourage others in this season of giving just to make that consideration. Talk about it. Don’t be afraid to have those conversations,” Johnson said. “Because we don’t know what tomorrow’s gonna bring.”
The holidays are a good time to talk with your families about your decision to become an organ donor. You can register to get your little red heart by visiting LifeShare’s website.
The 133rd Rose Parade will take place on New Year’s Day.