On New Year's Eve, this Mommy Minute story about Sage Novak's trip to the Rose Bowl Parade resonated with many, many readers and viewers. About five years ago, her husband, Rob, died unexpectantly after playing in a golf tournament with his family. During her period of shock and grief, this young mom decided to donate her husband's tissue which benefitted four people, including three baby boys.
A few months ago, Rob's story was chosen to be highlighted on the Donate Life float during the New Year's Day Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena. A floragraph, a floral portrait, showed this former football player's likeness which was included with images of 71 others, in an effort to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation.
Novak traveled to California to witness this event, along with her two daughters who were only 1 and 4 years old when their dad passed away. She says she had an absolutely "amazing" and life-changing experience, getting to know all sorts of other people who lost loved ones and were touched by organ donation. She has been putting her thoughts in writing, perhaps to become an article for the Donate Life magazine.
She shared these excerpts, describing her emotions, with us:
"To be a part of this profound energy was magical. I loved the fact that we were all staying in the same hotel for this energy was present everywhere. I didn’t feel the need to explain why we were there, wearing my husband’s picture pinned to my shirt. Everyone knew. Everyone understood. Everyone appreciated. Smiles were shared and stories were told and our journey became everyone’s journey."
The pictures attached to this post show Novak watching the "Journeys of the Heart" float...and her seven year old daughter, Natalie, looking up at her dad's floragraph.
"At one point in the parade, when there was a break in the floats, a gentlemen in our group (who has I’m sure been to one too many college basketball games) successfully got both sides of the street to alternate chanting 'Donate!' and 'Life!' It was a very fun and very literal show of unity among this group of people who are strangers and yet family. Our collective voices chanting 'Donate Life' formed a symbolic bridge of hope and courage across Colorado Blvd. on a sparkling, sunny New Years Day."
I was honored to be able to tell this incredible story of bravery and generosity.
Click here to learn more about organ donation.