Hope Blooms: Organ Donation, the Rose Parade, and Our Journey to Save Lives
Bryan Stewart, author
In 2001, lung transplant recipient Gary Foxen shared his vision of an organ donation-themed float in the Rose Parade as a way to thank donors and celebrate what transplantation makes possible. Bryan Stewart, recently hired into the field, saw an even greater possibility: to inspire millions of Americans to choose to be organ, eye, and tissue donors. Hope Blooms: Organ Donation, the Rose Parade, and Our Journey to Save Lives, an intimate 12-year account of the genesis, evolution, and institution of Donate Life's participation in America's New Year Celebration, introduces readers to the people, events, and moments of joy, sorrow, and grace that helped position the cause as life-affirming and contribute to dramatic increases in the public’s willingness to donate. Through insightful and emotional anecdotes illuminating the challenges and rewards of building a national public health campaign around one of the world’s premier live events, Stewart imparts the value of inspiration, ingenuity, partnerships, and perseverance as guideposts for leading people, organizations, and causes.
Stewart movingly chronicles the story of how the subject of organ and tissue donation became the centerpiece of beautiful floral tributes in Pasadena, Calif.’s famous Rose Parade (“America’s New Year Celebration”). As chair of the Donate Life Rose Parade Float Committee, he is uniquely well-equipped to write this detailed, 12-year account of how the idea of publicizing organ donations at the Rose Parade, first hatched in 2002, became a reality. Themes executed have included 2004’s A Symphony of Life, 2006’s Life Transformed, 2008’s Life Takes Flight, and 2010’s New Life Rises. Floats have introduced recipients to their donors, or to the families of their donors, for the first time, and have united fellow recipients with each other—a pair of riders invited onto the float one year had received heart transplants at the same time and hospital while they were still infants. The Donate Life initiative has also shed light on lesser-known organ donation streams, such as living donation kidney chains, in which would-be donors incompatible with their preferred recipient instead pass the donation onto someone else in need. Stewart’s passion for his cause shines through this inspiring narrative. (BookLife)