The Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office (SMRMEO), within Mayo Clinic's Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology’s Division of Anatomic Pathology, plays an integral part in the tissue-donation process. SMRMEO personnel make a critical referral call to American Donor Services (ADS), which starts the “gift of life” progression. Timely notification ensures that ADS can maximize the number of families that have the option to donate their loved one’s tissue. This lifesaving donation provide hope and restored health to individuals from all walks of life.
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) notes that more than 115,000 people are on the transplant waiting list, and every 10 minutes, someone is added to that list. Since 2000, the number has grown by more than 3,000 each year, provoking the need to think creatively about how to best educate the community about the increasing need for organ and tissue donors.
One creative way to share this important message was proposed by a grateful lung recipient. He contacted OneLegacy, an organ-procurement organization in southern California and suggested the creation of a donation/transplantation-themed float for the Tournament of Roses Parade. Because of that letter, each New Year’s Day, the “Donate Life” float is viewed by approximately 60 million viewers, offering the opportunity for individuals to think about organ and tissue donation and talk with their families about their donation wishes.
The Donate Life Rose Parade float is supported by more than 50 organizations nationwide and unites the nation’s donation/transplantation community by sharing one common message—“Donate Life.”
Minnesota Donor Honored on 2018 Float
Celebrating its 15th year, the Donate Life Rose Parade float continues the mission of donation and transplantation organizations: to save and heal lives by sharing the gift of life and delivering the message of organ, eye, and tissue donation to the world. This year’s float theme, “The Gift of Time,” shared the message that “time” is the greatest gift that an awaiting recipient can receive.
On the float, deceased donors were honored with organic portrait images called floragraphs, and living donors and recipients rode on and walked beside the float.
The ADS, based in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, was one of the donation organizations that was given the opportunity to recognize a donor on the 2018 float. Ruth Ann Seuer from Prior Lake was chosen to be recognized via floragraph, which would include recognition of the SMRMEO’s commitment to the cause.
Ruth Ann Seuer’s Story
In 2015, Ms. Seuer donated tissue and bone allografts, one of the ways that she touched the lives of her community. Even after Ruth Ann’s passing, her gift of life continues to help those in need. Thus far, her donation has improved the lives of more than 95 people.