A Journey of Hope: Part 3

The Deterding family from White Heath, Illinois are amazing advocates for organ and tissue donation. They have spearheaded countless initiatives to promote donation in the Urbana-Champaign community and on the University of Illinois campus. Over the last two years, Gift of Hope — with the help of the Deterding family — has encouraged more than 5,000 students to register as lifesaving donors.

The Deterding family’s support for donation stems from their experiences as a donor family. Their loved one, Teddy, helped save and enhance many lives through his gifts of life.

On New Year’s Day, Teddy will be memorialized by a floragraph that will be featured on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. Teddy’s image will be seen by millions of people around the world. And, the Deterding family will be in Pasadena, California to see the float and Teddy’s image firsthand.

Robyn Deterding writes, on behalf of her family, about organ and tissue donation and her family’s excitement for the Rose Parade and the Donate Life Float.

The Deterding family with the Guinness World Record!

The Deterding family with the Guinness World Record!

On behalf of my family, I am excited to share our Rose Parade experience. Many people have been, or have come into our lives, for a very special reason and we’ve all been united because of one special little boy. And that’s Teddy.

In life and even in death Teddy has offered so much. As an organ and tissue donor, he gave life to others, he helped us break the Guinness World Record, and he introduced us to our Gift of Hope Family.

The Rose Bowl Parade theme is “Dreams Come True” and, speaking for my family, our participantion in this event is truly a dream come true. And, it isn’t just our dream but all those that share in this event, who have been inspired by others and who will support this by Lighting up the World. Our role will be to represent and honor many — the recipients, the living donors, the donor families and the deceased — while also continuing to share the importance of organ and tissue donation. It is an honor for us to have been be a part of the Donate Life Rose Parade Float and I can’t thank Gift of Hope enough for choosing us to for this experience.

The Deterding family with the floragraph of Teddy.

The Deterding family with the floragraph of Teddy.

My littlest daughter, Ella, is a collector of quotes. Just this week she posted one that seems to sum up what many of us feel through the unknown, the sadness, the loss and a road that has been more meaningful than any I could ever travel.

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else. And for everything you gain, you have lost something else. It is about your outlook towards life. You can either regret or rejoice.”

I know Teddy would not have it any other way but to rejoice. And his beautiful smile provides that bright lantern for many of us as he continues to give.

We will always, always treasure this experience.


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