Late Corsica teen to be honored in Rose ParadeAndrea Cleveland will be among 72 organ, eye and tissue donors honored with a floragraph — a portrait created using grains, flowers, seeds, spices and other organic materials — on Donate Life’s 2013 Rose Parade float.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
CORSICA — Andrea Cleveland checked yes.
Cleveland, a 16-year-old from Corsica, died of injuries she suffered in a single-car crash Nov. 1, 2011, on a rural road south of Platte.
But before the crash, she checked the box to become an organ donor on her driver’s license application. By checking that box and donating her organs, five peoples’ lives were saved.
“It did mean something to her,” said Jeff Cleveland, Andrea’s father, in an interview this week with The Daily Republic. “She didn’t just check the box. She was proud to be a donor.”
Andrea Cleveland will be among 72 organ, eye and tissue donors honored with a floragraph — a portrait created using grains, flowers, seeds, spices and other organic materials — on Donate Life’s 2013 Rose Parade float.
“It’s a real honor for us,” Jeff Cleveland said. “Andrea is able to save peoples’ lives and continue to spread the word on organ donation.”
Each of the 72 floragraphs on the float is sponsored by an organization. Andrea Cleveland’s entry is sponsored by Life Source, a non-profit organization that manages organ and tissue donation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and portions of western Wisconsin.
Cleveland’s family added the finishing touches to her floragraph last week when it was sent from Pasadena, Calif., where the parade takes place, to South Dakota. The family brought the floragraph to the school in Corsica so her classmates could see it.
Cleveland’s parents and six other family members are going to the parade.
“It will be pretty overwhelming,” Jeff Cleveland said. “You watch it on TV and never dream you’ll be there, let alone have your daughter’s floragraph on the float.”
Also onboard the float will be 32 riders representing deceased donors, living donors and transplant recipients.
Bryan Stewart, chairman of the Donate Life float committee and vice president of communications at OneLegacy, said the purpose of the float goes beyond spreading awareness and education for organ donation.
“What we’re searching for is the very high mark of inspiring people,” Stewart said.
Stewart hopes the float’s message will influence more people to become organ donors.
According to a Donate Life news release, more than 115,000 people are currently on the national organ transplant waiting list, but because the circumstances needed for an actual donation are so rare, only about 28,000 organs are transplanted each year.
Donate Life is a nonprofit organization working toward increasing organ, eye and tissue donation.
Each day, 18 people die because a suitable donor can’t be found, the release says.
“Every opportunity to donate is precious,” Stewart said. “That’s why we need so many people to sign up on registries.”
For the family members of donors, seeing a loved one honored on the float is usually bittersweet, Stewart said.
“Their loved one passed away,” he said. “But we’re making something good come out of something bad.”
It also gives those affected by organ donation a chance to meet others in similar situations, Stewart said. “It’s a very healing process to be part of this tradition.”
This is the 10th year Donate Life has entered a float in the Rose Parade.
“Over the course of time, it has become by far the most inspiring float in the parade,” Stewart said.
Cleveland hopes his daughter’s story will inspire others to become organ donors.
“I wasn’t really aware of how important it was until we saw the lives that Andrea saved,” Cleveland said.
The 124th Rose Parade will be at 8 a.m. Pacific time (10 a.m. Central) on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif.