Vivian and Larry Lefferts will represent Gift of Hope at the 2013 Donate Life Rose Parade festivities in Pasadena. Vivian will have the pleasure and privilege of riding on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float on New Year’s Day. Residents of Normal and long-time Gift of Hope volunteers and members of the organization’s Donor Family Advisory Council and Workplace Partners Advisory Council, the Lefferts will honor the legacy of their son, John, a cornea, bone and tissue donor whose gifts have touched the lives of more than 30 people since his death from an aortic aneurysm in 2004.
“The Lefferts’ selection as our representatives at the 2013 Donate Life Rose Parade festivities couldn’t be more fitting, especially considering the theme of the Donate Life Rose Parade Float— Journeys of the Heart,” said Jerry Anderson, President/CEO of Gift of Hope. “They truly personify that theme because the tragic loss of their beloved son led them on a new journey to continue John’s legacy through the gifts he offered through his tissue donation.”
The Lefferts began that journey by reaching out to Gift of Hope to support its mission through efforts such as spearheading grassroots letter-writing campaigns to support the law that created the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry in 2006. In the years since then, the Lefferts have continued to help save and enhance countless lives through their efforts as Gift of Hope volunteers and members of the organization’s Donor Family Advisory Council.
“Vivian and Larry honor their son’s legacy by volunteering with Gift of Hope to share their donation story whenever they can at programs throughout the state,” Anderson said. “This tireless husband-and-wife team speaks at businesses, hospitals, special events, high schools and colleges and to anyone else willing to hear about how important organ and tissue donation is to both their family and the thousands of people waiting for lifesaving and life-enhancing transplants.”
The Lefferts are one of the most sought-after public speakers in Gift of Hope’s service area, added David Bosch, Gift of Hope’s Director of Communications. “They captivate their audiences with their donation story while educating audience members about the importance of organ and tissue donation and how registering to be a donor can save and enhance lives,” he said.
The Lefferts even use their business as an opportunity to promote organ and tissue donation. As owners of a fireworks company, they often showcase the Donate Life logo and the important donation message through their pyrotechnic displays.
“These efforts are subtle, yet extremely hard-hitting,” Anderson said. “With little fanfare, the Lefferts have encouraged thousands of people to join the state donor registry. They have not only fully embraced our mission and cause, but they continue to represent the generous and hopeful spirit of all donor families. We are proud to have them as our representatives at the 2013 Donate Life Rose Parade festivities.”