Organ Donor from Springfield to be Honored in 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade
Posted December 6, 2010 in Donor Family News, News Category
Springfield, Missouri – Dec. 6, 2010 – Christopher “Blake” White was a popular Hibachi Chef at Nakato Japanese Restaurant in Springfield, Mo. Two years ago, on New Years Day, White lost control of his Yamaha sport bike on a patch of slippery ice. He died from severe head injuries four days later at Cox South Hospital.
“I was actually watching the Rose Parade on television when I received the call from Cox South Hospital that my son was in an accident,” says his mother Nancy Trapp. “I remember talking with Blake not long before about a friend’s sister who needed a kidney transplant. Blake stated that if anything were to happen to him, to give all of his ‘parts’ away.”
Blake saved five lives through his family’s generous consent to organ and tissue donation. This holiday season, on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif., Blake’s photo will be one of 60 depicted in flowers on Donate Life’s 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade Float. Blake is the only organ donor highlighted from Missouri. The parade will be broadcast nationwide beginning at 10 a.m. CST (8 a.m. PST)
To help prepare the float for parade day, Blake’s family and friends will come together from 2:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 17 in Cafeteria Room A at Cox South Hospital to complete a floragraph of Blake. Floragraphs are portraits created with floral materials. Each floragraph for the 2011 Donate Life float will rest on 12” x 15” oval canvases. Once completed, the floragraph will be sent to California and added to the Donate Life float. Blake’s family — 13 of them — will be flying to Pasadena to view the parade from the Grandstand.
Mid-America Transplant Services, the regional organ procurement organization, is sponsoring the family’s floragraph and is assisting in funding part of the trip to California. “Our family is very excited to participate in the parade this year and we’re thankful for Mid-America Transplant Services’ support, both during and after the organ donation process and in helping us participate in the Donate Life float in California,” says Trapp. “We desire to help families in their time of loss not only by providing scholarships to memorialize their loved one but also by encouraging them to consider the healing gift of life. It will be a beautiful and emotional experience to see him honored on the anniversary of his accident and this would never have been possible if he had not expressed his desire to donate his organs.”
This year’s theme for the Donate Life float is “Seize the Day,” which will depict colorful soaring kites. Several kites will be adorned with the floragraphs. Organizers say that through life-changing experiences, the families of organ and tissue donors, living donors, and recipients of life-saving transplants will teach a profound lesson — to “seize the day” and make the most of every moment to build dreams, friendships and memories with loved ones.
More than 28,000 lives are saved each year in the U.S. through the gift of organ donation. Tissue donations also help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year. Currently in Missouri, 1,343 people are on the organ transplant waiting list. An estimated 47 percent of Missouri’s overall population, or 2.8 million people, are currently registered on Missouri’s organ and tissue donor registry.
On December 17, Nakato’s Japanese Steakhouse, where Blake once worked, will be providing appetizers in Blake’s memory for volunteers and family who will be working on Blake’s floragraph at Cox South Hospital. To continue to celebrate Blake’s life, the family also has established the Blake White Memorial Foundation, which helps families who have lost children so that they are able to purchase memorial markers.
“In spite of the pain we feel and how much we miss him, it is comforting and healing to celebrate Blake’s life every day,” says Nancy Trapp. “Blake will never be forgotten by anyone he has ever touched. His friends continue to call and visit often. It helps all of us stay connected, not only to each other, but to Blake, too.”
History of the Donate Life Float
Coordinated by Donate Life America member OneLegacy, the Donate Life float is supported by nearly 60 official partners from across the nation, including organ and tissue recovery organizations, tissue banks, state donor registries, transplant centers and affiliated organizations. All float partners encourage parade viewers to save lives by registering in their states to be organ, eye and tissue donors and donating blood in their communities. For more information about the Donate Life Rose Parade Float, visit the official float website at www.donatelifefloat.org.
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses is a volunteer organization that annually hosts the Rose Parade® presented by Honda, Rose Bowl Game® and various associated events. The 122nd Rose Parade presented by Honda, themed Building Dreams, Friendships & Memories, will take place Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011, at 8 a.m. (PST). Following the parade, the 97th Rose Bowl Game will kick off at 2:10 p.m. and feature an exciting match-up between two of the top collegiate football teams in the nation. For additional information on the Tournament of Roses please visit the official website at www.tournamentofroses.com.