Local Family to Attend 2014 Rose Parade In Memory of Zac Wildhaber - The Missourian: Local News

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Local Family to Attend 2014 Rose Parade In Memory of Zac Wildhaber

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Posted: Sunday, December 29, 2013 3:30 pm

One local family, the Wildhabers, will attend the 2014 Rose Parade in honor of their son, Zac.

Zac Wildhaber was a Union High School student when he was killed was in a vehicle accident in February 2012. His parents, Amy and Troy Wildhaber of Beaufort, made the decision to donate their son’s organs.

Soon after, they formed Zac’s Challenge to help educate the public about organ, tissue and eye donation.

Mid-America Transplant Services (MTS) is sponsoring the family to attend the annual parade.

The family put the finishing touches on Zac’s floragraph at an event hosted by MTS in December.

More than 70 organizations supporting Donate Life America’s lifesaving mission unveiled their Donate Life Rose Parade float: “Light Up the World,” a festival of lanterns that will inspire viewers worldwide to save and heal lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.

The Donate Life float and its honored participants are the centerpiece of a national campaign that leads up to the 2014 Rose Parade.

“We were inspired by the theme of the 125th Rose Parade, ‘Dreams Come True,’ to reflect on how our dreams are illuminated by the examples of others,” said Bryan Stewart, chairman of the Donate Life Rose Parade Float Committee and vice president of communications at OneLegacy, the nonprofit organ and tissue recovery organization serving the seven-county greater Los Angeles area.

“Through their life-changing experiences, individuals and families touched by organ and tissue donation and transplantation shine a light on us all,” he said.

“Transplant recipients radiate with gratitude and renewed life thanks to the gifts of organ, eye and tissue donors; families of deceased donors rekindle their spirits by carrying on their loved ones’ dreams; and both living and registered donors are beacons of hope to patients who aspire to live longer, fuller lives.

“Like lanterns illuminating the night sky above or the path before us, those who give and receive the gift of life light up the world with their compassion and courage.”

The Wildhabers will participate in several donor family events leading up to the parade Jan. 1.

About the Float

The 2014 Donate Life Rose Parade Float entry features a festival of lanterns illuminating 30 riders, all organ and tissue transplant recipients, and 12 living organ donors walking alongside to demonstrate their ongoing vitality.

The float’s five enormous lanterns are adorned with 72 memorial floragraph portraits of deceased donors. The riders are seated throughout a dedication garden filled with thousands of roses bearing personal messages of love, hope and remembrance.

Since its debut on New Year’s Day 2004, the Donate Life Rose Parade float has become the world’s most visible campaign to inspire people to become organ, eye, and tissue donors.

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