Each year LifeCenter Northwest selects a donor from our region to be honored on the Donate Life Rose Parade float on New Year’s Day in Pasadena. We are joined by many other organizations around the nation that sponsor donor families, living donors, or transplant recipients to attend the parade, connect with others connected to donation, and participate in activities coordinated by Donate Life America. A staple feature of the float is the donor “floragraphs”-portraits of honored donors made out of dried flowers, seeds, and other organic matter-that adorn the float and are incorporated into the theme. This year, LCNW has selected Virginia Mason organ donor Deanna Carr to be honored at the 2017 Rose Parade.
Deanna Carr was a friendly, outgoing individual who was never afraid of a challenge. Her loyalty and commitment to the relationships in her life were unprecedented. She met many of her dearest friends as a teenager, and remained close to them even as their lives, careers, and families progressed. Through her friendships, Deanna had the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures and parts of the world. This drive for adventure perfectly aligned with her approach to life, and living every moment to the fullest.
In March 1992, Deanna joined the Fire Service. She was a beloved member of the Bellevue Fire Department for 22 years. Her presence in the department helped harness an open, humorous, and hard working environment. She was not afraid to speak her mind, and held all of her colleagues to high standards of excellence.
The Washington State Council of Firefighters described Deanna as “an outstanding firefighter and EMT who loved her career and had the admiration and respect of her coworkers.”
In the fall of 2014, Deanna enrolled in a scuba dive certification class north of Seattle in the Puget Sound. During a dive, she signaled to her instructor she was going to surface. A medical emergency followed and she was taken to shore. She was rushed to Virginia Mason Medical Center where she tragically passed away.
Friends, family, and fellow firefighters flocked to the hospital to pay their respects, and say goodbye. Smiles and laughs were shared as her loved ones recounted stories and memories. These moments not only brought solace to those closest to Deanna, but left a profound impact on the LifeCenter Northwest staff on-site as well.
“In our time with the family, they told us all about how Deanna really was a light in people’s lives and that learning how to scuba dive was one of the last things on her bucket list. They were appropriately upset about Deanna’s accident, but felt that she really was doing something that she loved and enjoyed,” said Organ Recovery Coordinator Rachel Fry. “I’m glad to have had a small part in this case.”
In a testament to the influence and respect she held among her peers, firefighters lined the hospital hallway to pay homage to Deanna. As she was taken to the operating room for organ recovery they draped an American Flag over her body, and watched as her legacy of service continued. Just as she had dedicated her life, and career, to helping others, Deanna saved the lives of four individuals through the donation of her liver, lungs, and both kidneys.
“I am glad she could help other people,” said her mother, Elnora Carr. “She was just such a good person that died too soon. I feel it is wonderful that she could donate and save lives.”