NORTH LIBERTY– Two families from Iowa will be honored on the Rose Parade “Donate Life Float” in Pasadena, Calif. this year: the Kim and Dave Burdakin family of Muscatine, and the Bruce and Tiffany Brockway family of Burlington.
The Brockway Family will be finishing a floragraph in honor of their son Garrett at Iowa Donor Network, 550 Madison Ave., North Liberty on Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. Only organic materials, such as spices, seeds and crushed flowers, are used to create floragraphs.
From Massachusetts to Hawaii and across the Pacific to Korea and Taiwan, the families of 81 organ, eye and tissue donors will complete memorial floragraph portraits of their loved ones that will “Light Up the World” as beacons of hope in the 2014 Rose Parade. Each honored individual is remembered by their generosity, compassion, and lives saved and healed through donations after death. The floragraphs 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.
In April 2000, after a sudden onset of acute liver failure, Kim Burdakin’s sister Kay volunteered to donate a portion of her liver to save Kim’s life. Just as the operation was getting underway, the liver of a young Michigan man who died in a car accident was allocated to Kim. Soon after her transplant, Kim began writing to her donor family; by 2008 she had met the family of then-21-year-old Steven Toth. Thanks to Steven’s gift, Kim was able to marry her best friend Dave, see her daughters graduate from college, and celebrate at her oldest daughter’s wedding. Said Kim, “every day I thank God for giving me the faith to believe in miracles.”
Garrett Brockway was a fun, caring 10-year-old boy who earned straight A’s and was reading at a ninth grade level. On Feb. 24, Garrett was struck by a falling tree near his house and died three days later from the injuries he sustained. His caring soul continued to give through donation of multiple organs, tissue and corneas that helped to save and heal the lives of more than 10 people. Letters from seven recipients describing how Garrett’s gifts had saved or changed their lives became gifts to his parents Bruce and Tiffini.
For more information on the Donate Life Float please visit www.donatelifefloat.org .