St. Louis Teen's Legacy As Organ & Tissue Donor To Be Honored At 2019 Tournament Of Roses Parade
Posted November 30, 2018 in Donor Family News
The family of Christopher Vieth put the finishing touches on a special floragraph portrait that will be displayed on the Donate Life Float honoring organ and tissue donors at the 130th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on January 1, 2019. Mid-America Transplant was proud to host the special ceremony on Thursday for Christopher’s parents, Bob and Mary, and his siblings to add the last organic materials to the floragraph portrait of Christopher. He was a 19-year-old sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis when he died in 1990 after a tragic accident while crossing a street near campus.
“This is priceless and such a wonderful way to honor Christopher,” Mary Vieth said. “From a sad, tragic occasion, many good things have come from it. We are so happy that several other families had a number of years with their loved one because of Christopher’s donation. We were so thankful we were asked and able to donate.”
Mid-America Transplant is sponsoring Christopher’s portrait, which is one of 44 floragraphs to be showcased on the Donate Life Float during the parade. The portraits represent organ and tissue donors from across the nation and are made entirely of organic floral materials, such as spices, seeds, and crushed flowers. Thousands of additional roses with personal dedications of love and remembrance will be included as part of the float. Donor families and transplant recipients also will be riding the float.
The Vieths were selected because of Bob and Mary’s involvement with Mid-America Transplant, including countless hours as volunteers and board members advocating for programs and resources to assist donor families through grief support. Their contributions also include sharing Christopher’s story quarterly to new employees and serving on the planning committee for the Donor Memorial Monument.
“Because of Bob and Mary’s exceptional dedication to our mission and to donation and transplantation, we’re honoring Christopher’s legacy by placing his picture on the Donate Life Float at the Tournament of Roses Parade,” Mid-America Transplant CEO Diane Brockmeier said.
Christopher is described by his mother as an “intellectual fellow, kind of a nerd in a laughing, funny sense.” As an older brother, he often teased his siblings. Christopher was a National Honor Society member at Saint Louis University High School, where he graduated near the top of his class. He was accepted to Washington University in St. Louis, earning several scholarships. He attended mass every day. “He grew in his faith, and was a good example to all of us,” Mary said.
At 16 years old, Christopher came home from his driver’s test and announced he passed. He also noted that he joined the organ and tissue donor registry while obtaining his driver’s license. “Christopher wanted something good to come out of something bad if it were to happen,” Mary said. Christopher saved four lives with his gifts.
The Tournament of Roses Parade will take place beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1, 2019. More than 40 million viewers are expected to watch the parade on television. For more information on the Donate Life Float and all of the floragraph honorees, please visit www.donatelifefloat.org.