The Donate Life Rose Parade Float rolls on New Year’s Day in the world-famous Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.  There are so many stunning floats in the Rose Parade, but the Donate Life Float has so much meaning to me and many other people affected by organ donation.  My son, Christian Nelson, had the honor of being chosen as a floragraph last year.  Thanks to Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, he represented Louisiana on the float. Going to California and being a part of this experience is simply beautiful.  There are truly no words to describe how amazing it is.

What is a floragraph?

Staff Photo

Floragraphs are floral portraits of deceased organ, tissue or cornea donors.  Flowers and dry materials are used for decorating the entire float. Forty-four intricately detailed floragraphs are integrated into the vase designs and feature an array of sepia-toned natural materials including crushed walnut shell, cinnamon and ginger spices, sweet rice, and cress, red millet and nigella seeds. The floragraphs have been shipped throughout the United States, decorated by actual donor family members, then returned and placed onto the float.  Families of the deceased are honored to see their loved one in a floral image highlighted as part of the float for the entire world to see.

Facebook of Donate Life Float

The Donate Life Float is spearheaded by OneLegacy, the organ procurement organization located in Southern California, and supported by more than 50 organizations nationwide. The float promotes a  positive message that effectively reaches tens of millions of parade spectators, nation and worldwide television viewers.

With a different theme every year, a creative team starts planning the float for the following year, the day after the parade. This year’s float theme is “Light in the Darkness”.  Celebrating its 17th year, the Donate Life Rose Parade float continues its mission to save and heal lives by sharing the gift of life and delivering the message of organ, eye and tissue donation to the world.  Families of deceased donors are honored to see their loved ones’ floral images highlighted as part of the float. Living donors and recipients bring the float to life by riding or walking beside the float. With over 2,500 Donate Life volunteers providing over 10,000 decorating hours to complete the float, it’s simply breathtaking.

Facebook - Donate Life Float

The continuing growth in the United States organ transplant waiting list has motivated the donation and transplantation community to adopt creative techniques to inspire people to choose to be organ and tissue donors.

Sharing the pictures of our experience brings back so many heartwarming memories. It provided my family with pride, healing, and peace.  I know that is what all of the families are experiencing now.

Be sure to look for the most beautiful and most meaningful float in the Tournament of Roses Parade tomorrow, the Donate Life Float.