A Central Florida hero will be honored in a big way this holiday season, as his family celebrates the gift of life he gave to others. Pedro Batista, an Orlando resident and alumnus of Full Sail University, passed away in 2011 and saved five lives through organ donation and enhanced many more through tissue donation. Batista is one of an elite group of lifesaving organ, eye and tissue donors to be honored on the Donate Life float in the 2015 Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.
Batista’s portrait adorns one of 72 honorary floragraphs, artwork composed of seeds and organic materials, which is featured on the float. After the floragraph was created by professional artisans in California, Pedro’s family had the privilege of adding the finishing touches in a special ceremony at Full Sail earlier this year.
“We are both humbled and honored that the Batista family chose to host the floragraph finishing ceremony in honor or their beloved son and Full Sail graduate, Pedro Batista, on our campus,” said Full Sail University President, Garry Jones. “On behalf of our students, staff, faculty and alumni, we wish to extend our deepest gratitude for allowing us to take part in remembering and celebrating the remarkable life of Pedro, and the lifesaving gifts he has given to others.”
The Donate Life Rose Parade float, entitled “The Never-Ending Story,” features butterflies emerging from storybooks to symbolize the enduring power of organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. The Donate Life float and its honored participants are the centerpiece of a national campaign that leads up to the 2015 Rose Parade, themed “Inspiring Stories.”
“It’s an honor to celebrate Pedro and the gifts he gave through organ and tissue donation with this amazing family,” said Kristine Neal, Manager of Public Relations for TransLife, Central Florida’s federally designated organ donor program. TransLife will host Batista’s family as they travel to Pasadena to take part in the Tournament of Roses festivities, including float decorating, judging and attending a special Donate Life Gala with other honoree families.
Since its debut on New Year’s Day 2004, the Donate Life Rose Parade float has become the world’s most visible campaign to inspire people to become organ, eye, and tissue donors. Now in its twelfth year, Donate Life’s Rose Parade float participation is celebrated at hundreds of events nationwide, in which families put the finishing touches on floragraph portraits and donation and transplantation professionals present dedicated roses to donor families, living donors and community partners who play a key role in making donation possible.
The 126th Annual Rose Parade will be broadcast on multiple networks, beginning at 11 a.m. EST on New Year’s Day. One person can save up to eight lives through the donation of lifesaving organs and enhance the lives of more than 50 people who need corneas to see, skin to heal from burns, and bones and connective tissue for common knee, back and dental surgeries. TransLife is dedicated to saving and improving lives through organ and tissue donation and public education while honoring all donors and their loved ones whose generosity make the gift of life possible. For more information about registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, please visit DonateLifeFlorida.org or call 1-800-44DONOR.