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Donate Life Float Featured Visalia Woman

Friday, January 01, 2010

This year's Rose Parade in Pasadena honored everyday heroes with the theme "A Cut Above The Rest."

The float awarded "best use of theme" and featured a valley woman proud to spread a very important message. The float entry was from Donate Life, a non-profit alliance dedicated to the saving of life through organ and tissue donation.

The float featured a phoenix rising from the ashes, representing new life rising through organ donation.

Among the donor recipients on the float was Sunny Luna of Visalia, wearing her red bulldog sweatshirt and holding a picture of the woman who donated a kidney to her, Maria De Los Angeles Yepez.

We talked to Luna about her proud moment. "It was awesome, all the interaction with the audience. Everyone was just waving and crying and there were people out there saying, I just had a lung transplant or I just had a heart transplant so it was very emotional."

The float featured incredibly detailed floragraphs of organ donors. Luna was honored to share the life-saving message.

"I got a lot of texts when I was there. I had friends in Miami that saw it. Family in Philadelphia were texting me. We just saw you right now so it was awesome," said Luna.

Just two weeks ago Luna met for the first time Brenda Yepez, the daughter of her kidney donor. Yepez said she and her mother once talked of attending the Rose Parade together.

"We'll have everything set up and we're gonna go. That day never came where we had that moment but in a sense we're gonna be there with her. One way or another she got to go to the Rose Parade," said Yepez.

Sunny Luna knew the "Donate Life" float would touch hearts.

Right now over 100,000 people are awaiting life-saving organ transplants and every 11 minutes, another name is added to that list.

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parade, visalia, local
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