Everything is coming up roses for Richard Perez, a 10-year liver recipient, who will represent the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network and Solid Organ Transplant Programs in the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif. He will ride on the national Donate Life float, representing the many organ donors and recipients in upstate New York.
URMC will offer a special send-off celebration for Perez at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 16, in the Strong Memorial Hospital Main Lobby. Monday’s event also will recognize donors and their families who selflessly give the Gift of Life.
“Each New Year, Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network is honored to play a small part in the Rose Parade and the opportunity to spread the message about donation to such a large audience,” said FLDRN Executive Director Rob Kochik. “The Donate Life float helps to further raise awareness about organ and tissue donation and honors those who have so generously given the gift of life.”
Perez received a new liver a decade ago, getting a second chance at life with his family.
"I was able to see my son graduate from college and help plan his upcoming wedding,” Perez said. “I'm looking forward to grandkids! Every day I'm so thankful to my donor and their family."
Richard's experience as a liver recipient led him to volunteer at Strong Memorial Hospital to help and support other people as they prepare for and recover from an organ transplant.
"I feel this is the way for me to honor my donor and donor family in hopes that if I ever meet them, they will be proud that the person who received their loved one's organ has made a difference,” Perez said.
Guests attending Perez’s send-off event Monday are encouraged to wear blue and green – signature colors of the organ donation cause -- and take an opportunity to wish Perez well as he celebrates the gift of life. A reception will follow the ceremony.
For more information about the Donate Life Rose Parade Float, visit the official float web site at www.donatelifefloat.org. For information about how to become an organ and tissue donor and to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry, visit http://www.donorrecovery.org/.Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, affiliated with theUniversity of Rochester Medical Center, coordinates organ donation in 20 counties, and serves 37 hospitals in the Finger Lakes region, central and northern New York.