Local organ donors to be honored on float

Shelly Campbell and Dawn Mauer will take pride seeing floragraphs of their children in the Rose Parade to honor their posthumous organ donations.

December 21, 2012|By Andrew Shortall

Shelly Campbell claims she can't even draw a stick man, so making a life-like portrait of her son, Brian — his distinct strawberry-blond hair and pale skin — was quite the task for her and her family.

While the picture didn't turn out perfect, it really came alive when Brian's eyes were colored with crystal-blue hydrangeas.

"It kind of brought me to my knees when we got to the eyes," said Shelly, whose son died nearly 13 years ago, at 17 years old, from a brain hemorrhage. "His eyes were always so special; when he had the brain injury they always checked the eyes to see if there was a response. It really caught me off guard how emotional it was."

Memorial floral portraits, or floragraphs, of Brian, who attended Corona del Mar High School, and Fountain Valley High School graduate Deanna Mauer will be among pictures placed on the Donate Life Rose Parade float, which will honor organ donors when it travels down Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard on New Year's Day.


"It's indescribable the way I feel about [Deanna] being honored so much," said Dawn Mauer, who decorated the floragraph with her husband, Howard, on Dec. 8. "I can't believe this is really happening. It's truly amazing."

"Journeys of the Heart" is the theme for this year's Donate Life float, which dramatizes the ups and downs experienced by donor families, transplant recipients and living donors.

"For many of their families, this is a unique opportunity to see their loved one shine before millions of people worldwide and to gain special recognition for their gifts of life and hope," Donate Life float committee chairman and OneLegacy Vice President of Communications Bryan Stewart stated in a press release. OneLegacy is a nonprofit organ and tissue recovery organization.

Deanna, a former standout softball pitcher at Fountain Valley High and San Jose State, was 23 when she died from injuries she suffered when her stopped car was struck by a distracted driver on April 27, 2011, according to a press release from Donate Life. Her liver and kidneys were donated for transplant and her pancreas for research.

Brian's heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and pancreas were donated and helped save the lives of six people.

Both Dawn and Shelly learned their children were organ donors a short time before their deaths.

It came up in a conversation when Deanna asked her dad if he was an organ donor, which he is.

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