Each year, LifeCenter Northwest selects a donor from our service area to be honored on the Donate Life Float at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. 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, the organ procurement organization that serves the greater Los Angeles area. Deceased donors are recognized through the creation of “floragraphs,” which are floral portraits made of organic materials that are incorporated into the float design. Click here for photos from last year’s events.
This year, LifeCenter has selected Harborview Medical Center organ donor Joel Eggert to be honored at the 130th Rose Parade. Joel had a keen interest in music and riding motorcycles and was known for his loyalty and friendliness to family and friends. Art and creativity were also important parts of his life, and he spent the last decade using his artistic abilities and creativity to create metal work for a luxury yacht builder in Seattle.
One rainy winter night in 2016, Joel took his last motorcycle ride. He sustained severe injuries after hitting a roundabout in West Seattle and passed away five days before his 47th birthday.
His legacy of generosity still lives on in recipients of his organs, corneas, and tissue.
“Giving his organs and life to others is just a continuation of the man he was, often giving to others, even if it left him with nothing,” said Joel’s sister, Stacey Basse. “His final gift provides comfort to me and our family and friends.”
Joel’s family had the opportunity to meet his heart recipient, Jennie from Alaska. Through Jennie, the family is reminded that the warmth and love he gave to so many continues on, and he is still out there keeping the beat.
The parade theme for 2019 perfectly aligns with Joel’s love for music! For Joel, “music-mostly rock, coursed through his veins. Wherever he was, he was surrounded by music,” said his sister Stacey. The parade theme, “The Melody of Life,” celebrates music as envisioned by two-time organ recipient Gerald Freeney. Gerald believes that “music has power to not only bring us together, but it takes us back to memories and moments as nothing else can.” The Donate Life float’s theme is “Rhythm of the Heart,” which highlights the musical diversity and rhythms of Africa.
Featured on the float are Djembe drums from Senegal and a Kuba drum from Congo. There will also be 44 floral portraits integrated with the drums to honor the brave lives of deceased donors. Standing tall at the middle of the float is a double Senufo mask from the Ivory Coast that gives thanks to ancestors and remembers those who have gone before. The double face on the mask suggests the interconnectedness of all who have been touched by the power organ, eye and tissue donation. Twenty-six living donors or transplant recipients will be riding and walking alongside the float.
This November, Joel’s family will have the opportunity to honor Joel locally during an event at Harborview Medical Center in which the family will put the finishing touches on Joel’s “floragraph” before it is placed on the Donate Life Float.
For more information on the 2019 Donate Life Rose Parade, visit https://www.donatelifefloat.org/wp/.