Rose Parade Experience is Emotional, Meaningful, and Powerful

Posted January 14, 2014 in Donor Family News
153819810201410320999519904413219oSeeing the recipients on the Donate Life float was meaningful to Amy Wildhaber because, as a Donor Mom, recipients gave her something to hold on to and pull from after a tragedy.

Amy Wildhaber and her family created many new friendships at the Tournament of Roses Parade through the Donate Life float. The most meaningful may be with the woman who created the floragraph of Zac Wildhaber, who saved five lives and helped countless others through tissue donation after a tragic accident in 2012.

“Vicki is a wonderful lady,” Zac’s mother, Amy, said of the designer who created Zac’s floragraph. “She got into this several years ago. Her husband had a liver transplant in 2008, I think, and she’s been working with the float ever since. We just hit it off. She’s just easy to talk to.”

“The whole trip was a high level of emotion and a meaningful, powerful kind of thing.” — Amy Wildhaber, Zac’s mother

Mid-America Transplant Services sponsored the Wildhaber family to attend the 125th annual parade. Shortly after Zac passed away, the Wildhabers created Zac’s Challenge to educate people about organ and tissue donation and encourage them to join the registry. Zac was one of about 80 Donors depicted on floragraphs that were included on the Donate Life float, which was in its 10th Rose Parade. The Wildhaber family put the finishing touches on Zac’s floragraph at an event at MTS on December 16.

photo-4The Wildhabers met Vicki Vego, left, in Pasadena. She created the floragraph of Zac.

The Wildhabers met Vicki Vego at a Donor Family breakfast event a couple days before the parade. “She said she works with families, and she always feels a little pressure because she always does the floragraph of kids. But she did an amazing job, and since then we’ve friended on Facebook, she joined Zac’s Challenge, and she has some things going on in California where she’s going to share Zac’s story,” Amy said.

Vicki talked with the Wildhabers about the selfless act to donate and how Donors are heroes to her. “We agree with that, but there’s a whole other aspect to that. There’s such a connection between recipients and donor families. We look at the recipient as heroes, the people who gave us something to hold on to and pull from,” Amy said.

During the parade, Amy said a very meaningful moment was seeing the recipients riding the float. “Just as touching as seeing Zachary on the float, was seeing the recipients that were on the float,” she said. “It was inspiring. That’s why we’re here. That’s the purpose.”




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