‘Hope Blooms: Organ Donation, the Rose Parade, and Our Journey to Save Lives’

Inspiring 12-year account details the Donate Life float’s quest to increase organ and tissue donation

PASADENA, Calif., March 22, 2018 — In 2001, American families approached to donate organs on their loved ones’ behalf declined nearly half the time, dashing the hopes, and lives, of transplant candidates. When author Bryan Stewart read lung recipient Gary Foxen’s idea to enter an organ donation-themed float in the Rose Parade, he saw the potential to inspire the event’s tens of millions of viewers to choose to be donors. The subsequent 12 years of mission-driven purpose are detailed in Stewart’s book, Hope Blooms: Organ Donation, the Rose Parade, and Our Journey to Save Lives, available in stores April 7 in observance of National Donate Life Month.

“Donate Life’s Rose Parade float entry brought organ and tissue donation into America’s living rooms,” said Stewart. “The campaign united national advocacy efforts, honored donors on a world stage, and recast donation as a life-affirming cause.” Together with national initiatives focused on hospitals and state donor registries, the Rose Parade campaign helped increase organ donation rates from 52.2 percent in 2003 to 71.3 percent in 2013, while donor designations more than doubled to 117 million.

Hope Blooms: Organ Donation, the Rose Parade, and Our Journey to Save Lives documents the genesis, evolution, and institution of Donate Life’s float participation in one of America’s greatest traditions. Forty-three chapters and 16 pages of color photos introduce the people, events, and moments of joy, sorrow, and grace that contributed to dramatic increases in the public’s willingness to donate. Insightful and emotional anecdotes illuminate the challenges and rewards of building a national public health campaign around one of the world’s premier live events.

About the Author: Bryan Stewart is an authority on organ and tissue donation advocacy. His leadership of national, statewide, and regional initiatives between 2001 and 2015 contributed to advances in deceased and living donation, donor designation, and nationwide adoption of the Donate Life brand. Throughout his career in entertainment, sports, consumer products, and the nonprofit sector, he has imparted the value of inspiration, ingenuity, partnership, and perseverance as guideposts for leading people, organizations, and causes.