Donate Life Float

On November 12th I made the exciting announcement via facebook that I had been selected to ride on the Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade in honor of our sweet boy, Amalya Nathaniel! It’s hard to believe that “Float Week” is already here!!! Eric and I are currently sitting in the airport waiting to start our journey! This week will be full of adventures including: decorating the Donate Life Float, attending a special Rose Planting Ceremony to honor Amalya and all neonatal donors, meeting lots of amazing people in the donation world, going to several fancy dinners for the donor families, experiencing the float judging, exploring Pasadena, California, and of course – riding on the Donate Life Float down Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day!!!!

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am right now! I hope to write a little each day to share about all our amazing experiences.

Since announcing that I had been selected for this amazing honor, several people have asked for some of the “back story”. It all started on Amalya’s 3rd birthday when I received a very unexpected call from Gina, a friend who works for the International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine (IIAM).  For those of you who don’t know our story, IIAM is the organization who found placements for Amalya’s liver, pancreas and whole body. We were IIAM’s first neonatal donor family and the catalyst for IIAM starting their neonatal donor program. After some small talk, Gina said that she had some incredible news to share. She went on to explain that each year IIAM’s parent company, the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF), sponsors one person to ride on the Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade. This year I was that person! I was BLOWN AWAY! I never imagined anything like this would ever happen.  After a few minutes of regaining my composure, I said, “Gina, do you know what today is?” She said no. So I told her, “Today is Amalya’s 3rd birthday and heaven day! Talk about an amazing birthday gift!” We were both in awe for a few minutes, and then dove into planning.

From September to November everything was “hush-hush” as I was not allowed to announce or share anything publically. During those months Eric and I did lots of work behind the scenes filling out forms, writing our story with very specific word limits, get photos to the float committee, and participating in phone conferences for planning purposes. As each step came together I became more and more excited. During this time I also learned that Amalya is the first neonatal donor that has ever been sponsored by MTF (other neonatal donors have been represented on the float previous years through sponsorship by various organizations, just not MTF). Amalya is also the FIRST EVER research only donor to be represented on the Donate Life Float!!!! To say that again – this is the first time in the history of the Donate Life Float that an organization has sponsored someone to represent a donor who had ALL their gifts go to RESEARCH!

Having my son be represented on the Donate Life Float – a national and iconic platform – is an unexplainable honor and privilege, but to know that he is also helping raise awareness for the importance of both neonatal donation and donation for research (something that often gets a second place seat in the donation world) makes this event even more special! My heart is so full… talk about a “proud mommy moment”!

For those of you who are interested you can read the MTF press release about the exciting event and you can also view my (Amalya’s) profile on the Donate Life Float website. You can also watch a 1 minute interview that our local news station did about Amalya and the fact that we are riding on the float!

Finally, I have had several very kind people ask if we need any form of financial assistance to cover the cost of our trip. I am thankful and blessed to say that our entire trip has been provided by MTF! We can’t say enough about MTF and the amazing organization that they are!   If people feel moved to give, they can feel free to donate to Purposeful Gift to help raise awareness about the importance of neonatal donation!

I can’t wait to share more once we arrive in Pasadena!!!

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