Rocky Mountain Families to Represent the Miracle of Tissue Donation in 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade®

Wyoming donor family and Colorado transplant recipient to represent the full circle of tissue donation and transplantation aboard the annual Donate Life Rose Parade Float

Dec 13, 2010, 10:30 ET from AlloSource

DENVER, Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- For the eighth year, Donate Life will sponsor a float in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, a grand national tradition. This year, two families from the Rocky Mountain region will travel to Pasadena and ride on the 2011 Donate Life float, Seize the Day!, in an effort to heighten awareness about tissue donation. The float will include organ and tissue transplant recipients, living donors and family members of deceased donors from around the country, joined together in celebration and remembrance of the spectacular gift of life.

In memory of her daughter Kathleen, who was a Denver resident, Patricia Thomas, of Cody, Wyoming, is proud to ride the float in commemoration of her daughter's gifts of life that included donated corneas, heart valves, as well as bone and skin grafts. These gifts helped patients in need from around the world. Kathleen Thomas excelled academically, had an active social life and loved nature and the mountains. She died at just 31-years-old following an illness. Thomas' participation in the parade is sponsored by Donor Alliance, the federally-designated, non-profit organ procurement organization serving Colorado and most of Wyoming.

"I received a letter from the recipient of one of Kathleen's corneas, an 85-year-old woman from Nagasaki, Japan. My husband and I were so touched to learn of Kathleen's gifts going full circle. Since then we have vigorously promoted organ and tissue donation in our local community," said Thomas. "I know in my heart that Kathleen would be pleased she was able to help this woman and the other recipients of her tissue.  Riding the Donate Life float will be a great memorial to Kathleen and help me further my mission to get everyone to register to be an organ and tissue donor."

Joining Thomas aboard the float will be 19-year-old Aurora, Colorado native, Parker Simpson. In 2006, Simpson was an active, athletic and academically ambitious high school sophomore when a sports injury to his ankle began a trying medical journey that would test his and his family's resolve for years to come. Along the way infections, back surgery, possible amputation and Stage IV bone cancer in his arm overshadowed his prospects for a normal teenage life. In order to save his cancer-ridden arm, Simpson's shoulder and a large part of his humerus were replaced with an allograft bone transplant from a deceased donor. The generosity of the tissue donor allowed Parker to resume his active life. "I know I have endless possibilities now," said Simpson.

"It is an honor to participate again in the important Donate Life Rose Parade float, which is a tremendous tool for raising awareness of the importance of not only organ donation, but also the lesser-understood tissue donation," said Thomas Cycyota, president and CEO of AlloSource, which is sponsoring Simpson's participation in the parade. AlloSource, based in Centennial, Colorado, is one of the nation's largest non-profit providers of skin, bone and soft tissue allografts for use in surgical procedures. "Patricia and Parker will be a great team from the Rocky Mountain region to show the world how tissue donation can go full circle and have the same lifesaving and healing benefits as organ donation."

"I am proud to say that Donor Alliance has been involved with the Donate Life Float campaign since 2006 and is honored to send another deserving family to represent tissue donation and the work Donor Alliance does to save lives through organ and tissue donation," said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. "We place great value on selecting a donor family to participate and represent both Donor Alliance and the donation and transplantation community in a visible, national way. Our hope is that the riders, walkers and floragraph families on 2011 Donate Life float will impact the community and inspire the nation to join state donor registries."

The Seize the Day! float will include colorful kites soaring in the wind as donor families, living donors and transplant recipients enjoy a special moment and make new memories. Adorning several of the kites are 60 memorial 'floragraph' portraits of deceased donors whose legacies lift the hopes of those in need of transplants. The float's 30 float riders, including three honorary walkers, represent all donors and the everyday dreams they make possible through the gift of life. Thousands of organ, eye and tissue donors nationwide are memorialized with dedicated roses, each vial carrying a personal message of love, hope and remembrance. For more information about the Donate Life float please visit

The 122nd Rose Parade presented by Honda, themed Building Dreams, Friendships & Memories, will take place Saturday, January 1, 2011, at 8 a.m. (PST) featuring majestic floral floats, high-stepping equestrian units and spirited marching bands. Following the parade, the 97th Rose Bowl Game will kick off at 2:10 p.m. and feature a match-up between two of the top collegiate football teams in the nation. For additional information on the Tournament of Roses please visit the official website at

Coloradans can register their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor in the following ways:

  • Online at
  • At the Driver's License Office the next time you obtain or renew your driver's license
  • By calling 1-888-256-4386

About AlloSource

AlloSource delivers powerful possibilities to the medical community, patients and donor families. AlloSource is a non-profit company that offers more than 200 precise bone, skin, soft-tissue and custom-machined allografts for use in a host of life-saving and life-enhancing medical procedures. As the world's leader in fresh cartilage tissue used for joint repair and skin allografts to heal severe burns, AlloSource has become one of the largest and most respected tissue networks in the country. It is also the world's largest processor of live cellular bone growth substitutes. AlloSource delivers unparalleled expertise and responsive customer service to its growing network of surgeons, partners and the country's most reputable organ procurement organizations. AlloSource is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) and operates in Centennial, CO. For more information, visit

About Donor Alliance

Donor Alliance is the federally-designated, non-profit organ procurement organization and an American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) accredited tissue bank serving Colorado and most of Wyoming. As a recognized leader in facilitating the donation and recovery of transplantable organs and tissues, Donor Alliance's mission is to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. To achieve this mission, Donor Alliance employs an effective family approach and recovery programs in more than 100 hospitals. Donor Alliance also inspires the public to register as organ and tissue donors through community partnerships, public outreach and education campaigns throughout its donation service area.

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Thomas Cycyota

SOURCE AlloSource