DENVER (CBS4) – Among the floats that will glide down the streets of Pasadena in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day will be one from Denver-based Donate Life.
This will be the ninth year the organization has had a float in the parade. Each year, an organ donor recipient from Colorado is on the float.
This year, the honor goes to Connor Randall, who at 22 has actually had three hearts.
“I’m alive today because of two anonymous organ donors,” he said. “I’m feeling great. I’m grateful every single day.”
Randall had his first heart transplant when he was 6 months old. When he was in middle school, his body rejected that first transplant. He was just days away from death.
“In the middle of the night we got the call that a heart was there,” he said. “It was going to be a match, it was a big success.”
Now he’s honored to be a part of the Rose Parade. He’ll ride with 29 other recipients.
“On the float itself, a special part is decorated with ‘floragraphs,’ portraits of people who have become donors.”
Donor Alliance says 2,300 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant in Colorado alone, with 119,000 across the country.
Organ donation is higher in Colorado than most states. Approximately 67 percent are registered donors.
The organization said misconceptions often keep people from making the decision to become a donor.
“People tend to rule themselves out for age or health-related matters. ‘I’m too old or I smoke,’ ” explained Jennifer Moe with the Alliance.
She also said many people choose to leave the decision up to family members.
Connor said a 22-year-old man donated his heart and someday he would like to meet that family, just to say thank you.
For now, he’s delivering a message to everyone.
“Don’t take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here.”