INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – More than 1,300 people in Indiana are waiting on transplants and 22 die every day while waiting for the gift of life.
Kirby Cochran no longer counts himself among those sobering statistics. Four years ago, the Johnson County sheriff’s deputy received a liver from Tracy Driscoll, who died unexpectedly at the age of 41.
Cochran and nine others with the Indiana Donor Network left Indianapolis Wednesday for Pasadena, Calif., where they’ll ride on the Donate Life Rose Parade float.
“It’s very humbling, but it’s exciting and it’s huge for me to be able to advocate for the folks that helped make this possible,” Cochran said.
Haleigh Mann, Driscoll’s daughter, will also be among them. Driscoll’s face appears on the float as a “floragraph”—an image made with flowers.
“I never imagined I’d be going to California to the Rose Bowl parade and seeing my mother’s picture up there and just knowing how she’s impacting so many people. It’s just great,” Mann said.
When approached about organ donation, Driscoll’s family was initially hesitant. They then learned that Driscoll wanted to be a donor, making it a much easier decision.
“I knew it was something we should do because when I went to get my license she told me she was an organ donor and I should be an organ donor, so that conversation I had years ago it really helped bring my family comfort,” Mann said.
In addition to Cochran, Driscoll’s generosity touched two other recipients. Cochran says the parade float shows the impact of Driscoll’s decision. He and his wife have become friends with her family.
“For me to get a second chance at life, to continue my career, to pursue my dreams, to support my family, and now to be able to advocate and go out and represent the beautiful state of Indiana at the Rose Parade—it’s huge,” Cochran said.
He urged everyone to make their wishes known to their family.
“If you’re considering donating, please share those wishes with your family in the event something tragic would happen they would know your wishes and honor your wishes.”
The 128th Rose Parade will take place on Jan. 2, 2017, in Pasadena.
For more information about organ donation, click here.