Tournament of Roses Parade to honor local life-saving donors

WESTWOOD, Kan. – December 17, 2013 – For the riders and floragraph honorees of the 11th annual Donate Life float in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade®, their emotional journeys will mirror the highs, lows and all points in between shared by the national community of organ and tissue recipients, transplant candidates, living donors, and families of deceased donors they represent.

Kansas City will be represented by three local floragraph honorees: Noah Davis, Leslie McLendon and Rex Tickles. The 81 floragraph portraits will grace the lanterns of light that illuminate 30 float riders – all transplant recipients – and the 12 living donors who will accompany them on foot along the five-mile route seen by more than 40 million viewers nationwide.

“For many families, this is a unique opportunity to see their loved one shine before millions of people worldwide and to gain special recognition for their gifts of life and hope,” said Marcia Schoenfeld, Midwest Transplant Network (MTN) donor family services coordinator.

Floragraph Decorating Ceremonies Noah Davis was a healthy and energetic 6-year-old who hoped to be a police officer when he grew up “so he could keep everyone safe.” Noah tragically drowned in June 2012 and became an organ and cornea donor. Just two months later on his seventh birthday, he was sworn-in as an honorary police officer for the Shawnee Police Department and awarded the Medal of Valor for the lives he saved through donation. Noah’s family completed his floragraph for the parade at a reception on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. at Midwest Transplant Network.

Leslie McLendon, known as "DJ Lady Mac," loved life, dancing and her family. She worked as a counselor at Boys Town and as a community organizer and outreach specialist for the Community Blood Center. Leslie was only 45 on Dec. 15, 2012, when she was driving with her sister and nephews and suddenly slumped over. Leslie had suffered full cardiac arrest. Practicing what she preached, she was a registered organ donor. Leslie’s family will complete her floragraph on Friday, Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. at Centennial United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Mo.

Rex Tickles of Linwood, Kan., was known for helping others and described by his son Lucas as someone who enjoyed filling his life with service to family and friends. On a Saturday in October 2012, Rex became a bone and tissue donor and through his gift continues to help and serve others in a new way. Rex’s family joined Midwest Transplant Network staff in a private ceremony to finish his floragraph.

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