2019 Donate Life Rose Parade Float Inspires Millions With the Powerful Message of Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This morning the 2019 Donate Life float, “Rhythm of the Heart,”
celebrated its 16th year in the Rose Parade honoring those
who have been touched by the power of organ, eye and tissue donation.
Featuring exotic flowers from around the world, as well as musical
instruments, masks and headdresses from different African nations, the
float traveled the parade route just ahead of the car of 2019 Tournament
of Roses President Gerald Freeny, who is a two-time organ recipient and
a two-time cancer survivor. Freeny envisioned “The Melody of Life” as
the theme for the 130th Rose Parade to celebrate the power of
music, the universal language.

“It was exciting to see the Rose Parade floats inspired by this theme,
especially one sponsored by a group that is as understandably near and
dear to my heart as Donate Life,” said Freeny. “Music has been
particularly important to me because it has helped me overcome a number
of serious health issues including two organ transplants and cancer.
Music has the ability to soothe and heal. It can just turn a situation
from bad to good.”

The 2019 Donate Life float’s musical theme, “Baba Yetu,” was interpreted
by Alex Boyé, who was present over the weekend and at a special New
Year’s Eve celebration sharing his powerful voice and moving songs with
the float’s honorees and their families.


The lives of four honorees this year were transformed and healed thanks
to tissue donation. This year’s tissue recipients featured on the float

  • Bill Borbeau, sponsored by the American Association of Tissue Banks,
    is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and former law enforcement officer.
    Bill received skin tissue to repair his upper arm, which was damaged
    after an auto accident.
  • Cindricka Arrington, sponsored by Medtronics, is a program manager
    from Mississippi who received bone grafts during spiral fusion surgery
    after being diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy.
  • Molly Blackwood, a retired nurse from Wisconsin, sponsored by RTI
    Donor Services. Molly received a bone graft during spinal fusion
    surgery to repair her spine.
  • Madelyn Nicpon from New York, sponsored by AxoGen, is a 17-year-old
    high school senior who received a nerve allograft to repair her
    lingual nerve, which was damaged during a procedure to remove her
    wisdom teeth.
  • Donna Pierce, sponsored by CryoLife, is a personal trainer from
    Maryland who received a lifesaving heart valve transplant after
    suffering from a congenital heart condition for several years.

Thanks to tissue donors, millions of people are healed every year and
thousands of lives are saved. Tissue from one single donor can touch the
lives of more than 75 people. Some of the tissues that can be donated
include lifesaving tissues such as heart valves and skin grafts for burn
survivors. Other tissues that are crucial to help heal and restore
mobility include bone, ligament and nerve grafts, among others.


  • Forty-four families of deceased donors participated in several events
    beginning in October through mid-December to decorate and put the
    finishing touches on their loved ones’ floragraph portraits at local
    floragraph finishing events across the country.
  • More than 2,500 Donate Life volunteers provided over 10,000 decoration
    hours to complete the float.
  • Exotic and tropical floral designs feature materials imported directly
    from Africa.
  • Over 25,000 rich and vibrant orange Santana and Verano roses complete
    the deck gardens, including nearly 4,000 individually dedicated roses
    to honor organ, eye and tissue donors.

The Donate Life Rose Parade float is the centerpiece of a national
effort to reach a broad audience with the simple, life-giving message
that organ, eye and tissue donation saves and heals lives. The float is
produced by OneLegacy, the nation’s largest organ, eye and tissue
procurement organization, and is made possible thanks to over 31
sponsoring donation, transplant, healthcare and family care
organizations, and individuals who help make donation and transplant
possible across the country.

About Donate Life America

Donate Life America is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit alliance of national
organizations and state teams across the United States committed to
increasing organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life America manages
and promotes the national brand for donation, Donate Life, and assists
Donate Life state teams and national partners in facilitating
high-performing donor registries; developing and executing effective
multi-media donor education programs; and motivating the American public
to register now as organ, eye and tissue donors. Register today by
visiting DonateLife.net.