It’s a tradition here in California, after ringing in the New Year, we watch the Rose Parade or Tournament of Roses as it is officially called. This century old celebration is a festival of flowers, music, and sports unequaled anywhere else in the world. It’s America’s New Year Celebration, a greeting to the world on the first day of the year, and a salute to the community spirit and love of pageantry that has thrived in Pasadena for more than 100 years. The Tournament of Roses® has a “Never on Sunday” tradition. This year’s Tournament of Roses will take place on January 2nd with 40 float entries participating in the 128th Rose Parade presented by Honda, themed “Echoes of Success.”
One of the most significant floats will be the Donate Life float. The 2017 Donate Life float, Teammates in Life, reflects the parade’s theme, “Echoes of Success,” by reminding us that no one succeeds alone. We all thrive by working together and pulling in the same direction. Donors save the lives of grateful recipients and help families heal, and it is the large community of registered donors that makes it possible to save thousands of lives across the country each year.
On New Years’ Eve nearly six years ago, two months before she died, our dear friends Ken and Linda West’s daughter Kaylee told them that if anything were to happen to her, she wanted to be an organ donor. On Feb. 6, 2011, this beautiful and shining 24-year-old had a brain aneurysm in her sleep. To this day, my heart has never stopped aching for our friends.
Yesterday I had the honor of attending a very special meeting between Ken, Linda and Jeanne Schreiber, the woman whose life was saved by Ken and Linda’s daughter’s kidney. The meeting was the day that would have been Kaylee’s 30th birthday, at 3:38, the very moment she was born. Arranged by Sierra Donor Services, we gathered at the Golden 1 Center with family, friends, press, Sacramento Kings Cheerleaders, and even Slamson himself!
At the peak of this very emotional day, a florigraph of Kaylee that will adorn the “Teammates in Life” float in the 2017 Rose Parade was unveiled.