Ballwin Toddler and Organ Donor to be Honored in Tournament of Roses Parade
Posted December 22, 2011 in Donor Family News
The family of a Ballwin toddler put the finishing touches on a special portrait that will be displayed in the 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on Sunday.
The loving event, which took place at the offices of Mid-America Transplant Services, were an opportunity for Broc and Jennifer Brown, their family and friends to add the last flowers to a floragraph portrait of Kyndall Brown, who was just 17-months old when she died in 2003 after choking on lunch at her sitter’s home.
“She never regained consciousness,” said Kyndall’s mother, Jennifer Brown. “We waited and hoped for two full days at the hospital before they pronounced her brain dead. One of my most precious memories is that just a couple of weeks before she passed away I was tucking her into bed and told her I loved her. She looked at me and gave me a hug and said ‘I love you too, momma.”
As fate and faith intersected, Kyndall’s parents were on a business trip to Hawaii only months before Kyndall died. One of the presentations they attended was given by a heart surgeon who talked about organ donation and heart transplantation “Both of us recalled that talk as we struggled to come to grips with what had happened to Kyndall,” said Broc Brown. “We felt strongly that we should donate Kyndall’s organs so that someone else would have the gift of life.”
Kyndall’s liver went to a little girl from Iceland who was waiting for a transplant in the United States. Her kidneys and heart valves also were transplanted into other recipients. “I know in my own heart that Kyndall gave several people new life,” says Jennifer Brown. “In that respect we have a voice in keeping her alive.”
Kyndall’s portrait will be one of 72 floragraphs that will be showcased on the Donate Life float in the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade. The portraits come from 31 states and three countries (Canada, Japan, and Taiwan) and are made entirely of organic floral materials. Thousands of additional roses with personal dedications of love and remembrance also will be part of the float, which has the theme, …One More Day. Donor families and transplant recipients also will be riding the float.
The Tournament of Roses Parade will take place beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 2, 2012. More than 47 million viewers are expected to watch the parade on television.
Mid-America Transplant Services, the regional organ procurement organization, is sponsoring the family’s floragraph and is assisting with the funding for the trip to California. “In our region alone, we have had 147 donors so far in 2011,” said MTS President and CEO Dean F. Kappel. “It is the loving, selfless gift of organ and tissue donation from families such as the Browns that enable us to improve and save lives. It is truly fitting that organ donors and their loved ones are honored in such a moving and visible tribute as with the Donate Life float.”