UCI Honors Organ Donors

The annual Rose Parade has been a long-standing tradition that marks the beginning of every New Year. On the morning of January 1, many families tune in to the excitement and aesthetic pleasure of the parade. This year, the UC Irvine Medical Center played a prominent role in the parade through OneLegacy, Southern California’s organ procurement network, which serves seven counties, and their campaign “Donate Life.”

UC Irvine Medical Center is one of Southern California’s leading hospitals in the field of organ donation, and number one in Orange County according to UCI Medical Center media spokesperson John Murray. Because of this distinction, UC Irvine Medical Center has a close relationship with OneLegacy.

OneLegacy has been a participant in the Rose Parade since 2004. Every year in December, UC Irvine Medical Center honors their organ donors by donating roses for the float. The number or roses is equal to the number of donors for the year. This year, the hospital donated 55 roses.

On Dec. 17, UCI Medical Center, along with St. Joseph Hospital of Orange, also honored their donors by holding the third annual Family Circle Rose Dedication Ceremony, in which deceased donors, living donors, and organ recipients were acknowledged.

“The ceremony is our way of celebrating a family’s gift of life to others. As a physician who often takes care of patients after tragic accidents, I truly appreciate and respect the amazing gift that organ donors and their families give. They turn grief and loss into hope and life through organ donation,” Dr. Darren Malinoski, director of UCI Medical Center’s surgical intensive care unit, said.

UCI Medical Center also acknowledges their donors and their families by flying a Donate Life flag at the main entrance of the hospital. The flag is flown for seven days after the family of a deceased individual decides to donate the individual’s organs.

While UCI Medical Center has been actively involved with OneLegacy’s Rose Parade float for the past few years, this December marked the first time UCIMC sent out volunteers to aid in the decoration and preparation of the float. On Monday, Dec. 28, 20 volunteers from UCIMC donated their time to add the finishing touches to the float.

The theme of this year’s float was “New Life Rises” and it depicted a large phoenix rising out of flames. “In Donate Life’s seventh Rose Parade float entry, a phoenix, the mythical symbol of life coming out of death, rises into the sky, representing those who give life in their passing and the people whose lives are renewed by their gifts,” the description of the float on the Donate Life website said.

A garden made up of 2000 roses lead the float. Each rose in the garden was personally dedicated to a donor from a loved one or recipient.

The float included 24 riders, living donors, recipients, or relatives of deceased donors from across the country. Donate Life also honors deceased donors in each year’s float through “floragraphs”, photos of deceased donors from around the country, which are created with floral materials, and are placed throughout the float.
This year, the float included 77 floragraphs.