Rose Parade Float Celebrates Gift of Life Through Organ Donation

Thursday, December 10, 2009 Organ Donation News J E 4

Nebraska Family's Story Comes Alive in Floragraph

OMAHA, Neb., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tiff and Barb Varney were proud when their son Thomas Varney V, affectionately known as "Moose," came home with a red heart sticker attached to his Nebraska driver's license, indicating he'd made the decision to become an organ donor.

Little did the Varney's know that fate would soon step in, allowing Moose to carry out his wishes.

At the age of 21, Moose Varney suffered a tragic gunshot wound to the head at the hands of an armed assailant. Tiff remembered Moose wanted to give the gift of life to others by donating his organs, so that's just what the family did.

"The timing of the Rose Parade coincides with the anniversary of Moose's death, so it's a difficult time for us," says Barb. "But knowing he was chosen to be honored in a floragraph has given us comfort. It's a wonderful tribute to him."

The gift of life is the subject of a breathtaking float at the 121st annual Rose Parade, taking place on New Year's Day, 2010 in Pasadena, California. Thanks to the Nebraska Organ Recovery System (NORS), Moose's story will be celebrated on the Donate Life parade float, which is themed "New Life Rises." It's a message that reaffirms the good that comes from the decision to donate organs to those in need.

Moose Varney's photo will be one of 77 "floragraphs" on the float, representing 77 people across the country that became organ and tissue donors. In some cases, the organ recipients will ride along on the floats. Moose's family will also travel to Pasadena to take part in this nationally televised spectacular.

Floragraphs, according to Rose Parade officials, are artistic, life-like portraits created with organic materials including flowers.

Sadly, more than 105,000 people in the United States now await a life-saving organ transplant. Almost 20 people die each day in this country waiting for the organ they so desperately need to save their lives.

According to Nebraska Organ Recovery System (NORS) spokesperson Stephanie Lochmiller, organ donation creates a lasting impact, far beyond the surgical procedure itself. In Moose's case, five individuals were touched by his gift of life through organ donation.

According to NORS, more than 28,000 lives are saved each year in the U.S. through organ donation. For more information visit

SOURCE Nebraska Organ Recovery System


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