On January 2, the lives of two incredible women close to the Saving Sight family will be honored during the 2012 Rose Parade.

The Eye Bank is participating in the 2012 Donate Life Rose Parade Float by sponsoring a floragraph- or floral portrait- of donor, Mariah West. After Mariah lost her life in a texting while driving accident, her family made the generous decision to donate her eyes, organs and tissue through the Eye Bank and Midwest Transplant Network. Today, Mariah’s mission of helping others is being carried on through her parents’ work with AT&T’s “It Can Wait,” texting safety campaign and the Mariah West Educational Foundation. You can read more about Mariah’s story on our web site and on the float’s web site.

The Eye Bank chose to honor Mariah’s donation in memory of Darian Vanderhoofven, our fellow colleague who lost her life in the Joplin tornado.  Darian worked closely with both St. John’s Mercy Hospital and Freeman Health System in their annual local rose dedication ceremonies tied to the Donate Life float.  At an April 2011 Celebration of Life event at Freeman, Darian was touched by the story of Mariah’s donation after meeting her mother.

Because of Darian’s direct involvement with planning for the local hospital rose dedications and her connection with Mariah’s family, we felt that sponsoring a floragraph of Mariah would be a very special way to also honor Darian’s work in promotion of eye donation. Donate Life America has also chosen to recognize Darian by placing a rose on the float in her memory – a dedication usually reserved for donors and recipients.

This year’s float theme is “…One More Day,” which will encourage viewers to imagine one more day to remember a loved one, celebrate life, keep hope alive, and make a difference to others.  The float will feature six floral clocks adorned with 72 memorial floragraph portraits of deceased donors.  A large 33-foot clock tower with an animated minute hand will move backwards in recognition of the many donors memorialized in tributes in the float’s dedication garden.