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, CA. We are joined by organizations across the nation in sponsoring donor families, living donors, and transplant recipients to attend the parade, connect with others touched by donation, and participate in activities coordinated by OneLegacy. A staple feature of the float every year 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.
The parade theme, Making a Difference, celebrates the power of kindness and the people in our communities that are selflessly making a positive difference in our lives. The Donate Life float’s theme, Gift of Time, further augments this notion as the generous act of gifting life through organ, eye, and tissue donation is truly the greatest gift any of us can bequeath on a waiting recipient, showcasing the power that each of us has to help one another and make a difference in our world.
This year, LifeCenter Northwest has selected Providence Everett organ donor, Parker Lang, to be honored at the 2018 Rose Parade. Parker was a caring, active, and determined young man with a sensitive spirit. He was the type of person who got along with everyone and built meaningful relationships with his friends.
When his grades began to suffer during his sophomore year in high school, Parker was inspired to enroll in the Washington Youth Academy, a quasi-military training and mentoring program that emphasizes self-discipline, personal responsibility, and positive motivation. He was adamant about succeeding and excelled in the 6-month program. He returned to school a more mature, confident, well-rounded student, and graduated with his class in June 2015.
Parker blossomed after graduation. After being inspired to pursue a career in medicine after watching his brother’s accomplishments in medical school and residency, he took the initiative to enroll in college, and began taking online classes that fall. He also he started a job at a local natural pet food store, expressing his love and passion for animals.
On March 9, 2016, Parker was struck by a car while walking home from work on a busy street. Just months earlier, while renewing his ID, his mother Vicki vividly remembers the clerk asking if he would like to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor. True to his character, Parker said yes to the possibility of helping others. This decision saved five lives through the donation of his kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs.
“I find peace in knowing that Parker is still alive out there, just in a different body,” said Vicki.
LifeCenter Northwest staff will accompany Parker’s family to Pasadena to help decorate the Donate Life Float, connect with other donor families and recipients, and ring in the new year celebrating Parker’s life and legacy.