CENTENNIAL, Colo., Dec. 2 AlloSource, one of the nation's largest non-profit providers of skin, bone and soft tissue allografts for use in surgical procedures and the world's largest processor of live cellular bone growth substitutes, today announced its sponsorship of a truly iconic symbol of hope as a float rider aboard the annual Donate Life float in the January 1, 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade®. Manuel Salazar, a 29-year-old quadruple amputee survivor of a horrific construction site accident, now thrives thanks to his indomitable spirit and donated allograft tissue. Salazar will join 23 other riders from around the country on the float, now in its seventh year, in a tribute to the millions of people touched by organ, tissue and blood donation.
Seven years ago, Manuel Salazar was working on a construction site when, in an instant, his life was changed forever. A crane on the job site touched a power line, sending electricity to the ground where Salazar was standing, hitting him twice with 115,000 volts of electricity. Miraculously, Salazar survived the accident. However, his injuries were grave. His burns were life threatening and required that his arms and legs be amputated. The emotional struggle ahead of him as a quadruple amputee was overwhelming.
But press on he did, and he was given new hope numerous times from the help of donated allograft skin, a gift from deceased human donors. AlloSource provided the life-saving skin grafts to cover Salazar's burns and promote healing. After his stay in a burn unit he was brought to the Denver Clinic for Extremities at Risk. Because of the extent of his amputations, he was difficult to fit for prosthetics.
Dr. Ross Wilkins and Dr. Bill Brown and their team at the clinic used human tissue processed at AlloSource to help Salazar's mobility. Donor bone was used to help build him a shoulder joint. Along with muscle from his back, the new shoulder can sustain a lightweight, highly functional prosthetic arm that allows Salazar to feed himself, brush his teeth and even scratch his head - many simple things that he could not accomplish before.
Despite his ongoing physical challenges, Salazar insists that he is the same person he was before the accident. In fact, his stubbies (short prosthetic legs that allow him to walk in a shuffling motion) and wheelchair have hardly held him back: Salazar snow skis, water-skis, swims and wants to go skydiving. He also opened an auto body shop called Progressive Auto Works in Colorado and employs a team of people.
"Manuel Salazar is truly a hero for persevering through unimaginable circumstances in recovering from his accident and as a quadruple amputee. He completely embodies the miracle and possibility of tissue donation. All of us at AlloSource are very proud to share his story with the entire country," said Thomas Cycyota, AlloSource President and CEO. "I look forward to seeing him aboard the Donate Life float, which has become a grand tradition honoring organ and tissue donation."
The 2010 Donate Life Rose Parade float is themed "New Life Rises," and features a phoenix, the mythical symbol of life coming out of the ashes of death and rising from a bed of flames into the sky. The Donate Life phoenix represents those who give life in their passing and the people whose lives are renewed through transplantation. The bird soars high above the riders who are seated along a replica of the National Donor Memorial's Wall of Names at the headquarters of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in Richmond, Va. Adorning the bird's tail feathers are dozens of floragraphs -- portraits created with floral materials -- of deceased donors who gave life to those in need. In addition, donors across the country will be memorialized in a garden of roses dedicated through the Donate Life Family Circle program, with each rose vial carrying a personal message of love, hope and remembrance.
The 121st Rose Parade themed "A Cut Above the Rest "will take place on Friday, January 1, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. (PST).
AlloSource delivers powerful possibilities to the medical community, patients and donor families. AlloSource is a non-profit company that offers more than 200 precise bone, skin, soft-tissue and custom-machined allografts for use in a host of life-saving and life-enhancing medical procedures. As the world's leader in fresh cartilage tissue used for joint repair and skin allografts to heal severe burns, AlloSource has become one of the largest and most respected tissue networks in the country. It is also the world's largest processor of live cellular bone growth substitutes. AlloSource delivers unparalleled expertise and responsive customer service to its growing network of surgeons, partners and the country's most reputable organ procurement organizations. AlloSource is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) and operates in Centennial, CO. For more information, visit www.allosource.org.
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