CENTENNIAL, Colo., Dec. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- AlloSource, one of the nation's largest non-profit providers of skin, bone and soft tissue allografts for use in surgical procedures, will this year sponsor one of the 26 float riders aboard the annual Donate Life float in the January 1 Tournament of Roses Parade(R). The float, now in its sixth year, is a tribute to the millions of people touched by organ, tissue and blood donation, including living donors, donor families, transplant recipients and transplant candidates.
The AlloSource-sponsored float rider, May Chen, is a tissue recipient who saw her life changed by the gift of tissue donation. Chen will ride aboard the Donate Life "Stars of Life" float with 25 other riders including transplant recipients, living donors, and family members of deceased donors. In keeping with the "Stars of Life" theme, the float riders will be immersed in a spectacular shower of stars climbing more than 30 feet in the air, representing all the people who make the gift of life possible.
Chen is eager to participate in the float to celebrate the gift of life that impacted her own life and career several years ago. Chen is an internationally recognized martial artist and Tai Chi instructor, teaching primarily at the Fremont Adult School,
In 2005 a severe knee injury threatened to end Chen's career altogether, until a tissue transplant gave her new hope. Her knee was saved after she received a fresh tissue transplant from a young donor who lost his life in a car accident.
Since her transplant, Chen has returned to martial arts competition with continued success. She serves as judge in international competitions in the Bay Area and in 2006, as a member of the U.S. Wushu team, Chen won two individual World Championship medals in China. When she returned home, she sent the medals and a note to AlloSource, which processed the tissue for her transplant, and asked that the medals be given to the donor family.
"Everything I've done since the transplant and all that's to come are because of the tissue donor family," said Chen. "The allograft gave me a second chance to fulfill an unrealized destiny."
An additional AlloSource representative will also be honored by the Stars of Life float: Medical Advisory Board Member Richard Kagan, M.D. Dr. Kagan was selected to be one of 14 "Walk of Fame" stars within the float, which honor those who've made a lasting impact on organ and tissue donation. He was selected for his progressive research and dedication to the promotion of tissue donation.
Dr. Kagan is the Chief of Staff at Cincinnati's Shriners Hospital and Director of Adult Burn Care at University Hospital. Dr. Kagan is responsible for giving thousands of patients the chance to live despite life-threatening burns, often using allograft skin (a gift from deceased human donors) to do so.
"May Chen is a testament to the power of the gift of life; we are honored to have her represent AlloSource in this grand tradition honoring organ and tissue donation," said Thomas Cycyota, AlloSource President and CEO. "Additionally, we are delighted that Dr. Kagan will be recognized; his decades of commitment to helping burn survivors and work as a prominent advocate of donation are incredibly admirable."
The 120th Rose Parade themed "Hats Off To Entertainment" will take place Thurs., Jan. 1, 2009, at 8 a.m. (PST).
AlloSource delivers powerful possibilities to the medical community, patients and donor families. AlloSource is a non-profit company that offers more than 200 precise bone, skin, soft-tissue and custom-machined allografts for use in a host of life-saving and life-enhancing medical procedures. As the world's leader in fresh cartilage tissue used for joint repair and skin allografts to heal severe burns, AlloSource has become one of the largest and most respected tissue networks in the country. AlloSource delivers unparalleled expertise and responsive customer service to its growing network of surgeons, partners and the country's most reputable organ procurement organizations. AlloSource is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) and operates three facilities, in Centennial, CO; Salt Lake City, UT and Cincinnati, OH. For more information, visit www.allosource.org.
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