Rose Parade: Local hospitals team up to thank organ donors

Rose Parade: Local hospitals team up to thank organ donors

Christina Leggett lost both her niece and sister in a fatal car accident in 2009, but received the opportunity to remember them in a big way with a small symbol, a rose.

“It’s kind of something that helps you move forward. When we got down to the parade, we were part of the building of the float and putting the flowers on the float, and I actually got to put the roses that were from both facilities on the float as a representative for Joplin,” explained Leggett.

Leggett helped assemble the float years ago in Pasadena, California where the annual Rose Parade will take place, and remembers the experience fondly.

“It was very moving for a lot of people. Lot’s of tears, lot’s of smiles, lot’s of laughter, but a way to kinda say ‘we honor you.’ It was very neat,” recalled Leggett.

Since 2007, Freeman and Mercy have dedicated over 1,400 roses to honor organ donors, mailing out letters to their families, thanking them for their loved one’s generosity and getting to work on preserving their memory in this special way.

“We’ll label those rose vials and we’ll send the rose vials themselves back to Pasadena to the Donate Life Float committee, and then they’ll put those roses in, and then they’ll place them on the float,” said Cathy Lucci, Hospital Services Coordinator for Midwest Transplant Network.

112 roses combined from these hospitals will set sail on January 1, in unity and support of organ donation.

“To be able to say, well, you know what, we really want to honor these incredible heroes in our community and we want to do that together so that we can really have the best recognition for them that we can,” said Lucci.

For Leggett, the experience and cooperation between these hospitals is something she won’t forget.
“I think it’s amazing that they can focus on what’s important and that’s celebrating that loved one and the gift that they’ve given to so many,” said Leggett.

Learn more about becoming an organ donor here.