Honoree’s Stories Highlight the Transformational Power of Tissue Donation as Well as the Important Work of Donation Health Care Professionals in Healing the Lives of Many

Two tissue transplant professionals and 13 tissue and cornea donors will be honored on the 2021 Donate Life floral sculpture, “Community of Life,” which will be part of the Tournament of Roses’ 2021 TV special, “The Rose Parade’s New Year Celebration presented by Honda,” airing on New Year’s Day.

The 2021 Donate Life floral sculpture, “Community of Life” is the centerpiece of a national effort to reach a broad audience with the powerful message that organ, eye and tissue donation saves and heals lives. The cornea and tissue donors represented on the 2021 Donate Life floral sculpture include men, women and children whose generous gifts have healed hundreds of grateful recipients who have regained their sight, restored mobility, healed their burns or overall enjoy a better quality of life, thanks to cornea and tissue transplants.

Millions of people are healed every year, and thousands of lives are saved thanks to cornea and tissue donors. Tissue from one single donor can heal the lives of more than 75 people. Among the tissues that can heal lives are heart valves, skin grafts for burn survivors, bone, ligament and nerve allografts, and many more.

The 2021 Donate Life floral sculpture, “Community of Life” is honoring two health care professionals who specialize in tissue transplants to heal lives:

  • Dr. Patrick Smock, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and tissue recipient, honored by Axogen. Dr. Patrick Smock, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in peripheral nerve surgery and the treatment of upper extremity injuries, is not only a steward of the gift of tissue donation, but a very grateful recipient. In 2014 Dr. Smock suffered what he thought was a fairly simple thumb dislocation and ligament tear while mountain biking. He underwent surgery to repair the ligament damage and remove a neuroma, receiving a donor’s nerve allograft. Thanks to this surgery, Dr. Smock can continue performing surgical procedures with an even greater appreciation for the impact a nerve injury can have on a patient’s life. Today he uses donated processed human nerve allograft in his own practice to help patients with nerve injuries and shares his own experience.
  • Dr. Paul Stelzer, M.D., surgeon and professor of cardiovascular surgery, honored by CryoLife. Dr. Stelzer began his work with donor human valves doing aortic homograft and then pulmonary autograft surgery in 1985 at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. After returning to New York in 1989, he worked at Lenox Hill Hospital and then at Beth Israel Hospital before going to Mount Sinai Hospital in 2007 where he is professor of cardiovascular surgery. His series of over 730 Ross operations is one of the largest in the world. The Ross patients are all indebted to the families who donated the pulmonary valves, which are an essential part of that surgery.

Lifesaving and healing tissue and cornea transplants would not be possible without those donors who said “YES” to tissue donation. There are 13 tissue donors being honored with a floragraph on the 2021 Donate Life Rose Parade floral sculpture. They are:

  • Mikhaill Stewart, 28, from Richland, Washington, sponsored by Axogen.
  • David Christopher Money, 23, from Mechanicsburg, Ohio, sponsored by Community Tissue Services.
  • Francis “Frank” James Cox, 55, from Salt Lake City, Utah, sponsored by Donate Life California.
  • Jacob Matthew Thompson, 21, from Denver, Colorado, sponsored by Donor Alliance.
  • Joe Chairez, 25, from Sacramento, California, sponsored by Donor Network West.
  • Chantal Martinez-Murray, 39, from Bakersfield, California, sponsored by JJ’s Legacy.
  • Andrea Ann Doyens, 45, from Jacksonville, Florida, sponsored by Legacy Donor Services Foundation.
  • Taylor Evans, 22, from Easley, South Carolina, sponsored by LifeLink Foundation.
  • Leia Parker, 2, from San Diego, California, sponsored by Lifesharing.
  • Shawn Elizabeth Guillot, 15, from Donaldsonville, Louisiana, sponsored by Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency.
  • Alec Michael Murray, 13, from Reno, Nevada, sponsored by Nevada Donor Network.
  • James Tecce, 24, from Malden, Massachusetts, sponsored by New England Donor Services.
  • Thomas Vanderhorst, 47, from Tehachapi, California, sponsored by OneLegacy.

The Donate Life Rose Parade floral sculpture, produced by OneLegacy, is made possible thanks to more than 14 sponsors.

As the world’s most visible campaign to inspire organ, eye and tissue donation, the Donate Life Rose Parade Experience inspires viewers to help the over 1 million people in need of organ, eye or tissue transplants each year. Register today to become an organ, eye or tissue donor by visiting DonateLife.net. To learn more about the 2021 Donate Life floral sculpture honorees, visit the Donate Life float website here.

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.

Ross Goldberg 818-597-8453, x-1 ross@kevinross.net

Tania Llavaneras 213-503-9285 tllavaneras@onelegacy.org