Joe Gutierrez participates in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade® showing the country the life-changing impact of tissue donation
CENTENNIAL, Colo., Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AlloSource, one of the nation's largest non-profit providers of skin, bone and soft tissue allografts for use in surgical procedures and the world's largest processor of cellular bone allografts, announces its seventh annual sponsorship of a tissue recipient float rider aboard the annual Donate Life Float in the Tournament of Roses Parade®.
Honoring the gift of donation, and acting as a living symbol of the endless possibilities of donated human tissue, this year's float rider, Joseph Gutierrez, fully appreciates the gift he received after nearly losing his upper arm and shoulder to a progressive tumor less than a year ago. Prior to the tumor, Gutierrez enjoyed an active life full of travel, fishing and adventurous activities. Initially, the tumor was removed without risk to Gutierrez's arm. However, just six months later, the tumor was back with a vengeance. Fearing this lifestyle would come to an early end, he was relieved when Dr. Cynthia Kelly at The Denver Clinic for Extremities at Risk told him she could likely save his arm using donor bone.
Today, Gutierrez's arm is fully functioning and he is back to his adventurous lifestyle, recently skydiving for the first time.
"I am appreciative to be able to help patients like Joe restore their quality of life and would not be able to do so without the gift of tissue donation and the ever-advancing science of transplantation," said Dr. Kelly. "It is stories like Joe's, as well as ensuring that the gift of tissue helps a patient in need, that motivates me to do what I do every day."
Gutierrez will be riding aboard this year's float themed, "Journeys of the Heart," with 32 other grateful recipients. A pathway of looping hearts is lined with 72 memorial floragraph portraits of deceased donors who are remembered every step of the way. The float's collection of joyful hearts representing the new life made possible by transplantation is grounded by a reverent dedication garden filled with roses bearing personal messages honoring those who make the gift of life possible. The entire float is designed to honor donors and donor families for the gifts of life and healing they gave so many.
"The Donate Life Float is a remarkable symbol of AlloSource's mission and the gift of donation because it represents the full circle of tissue transplantation," said Thomas Cycyota, AlloSource President and CEO. "We get to honor donors, while at the same time truly celebrating how many lives can be saved and enhanced through organ, eye and tissue donation on a national scale."
Attending the Rose Parade for the first time, Gutierrez is overwhelmed by not only the opportunity to participate in the event, but also the realization of the gift he has received.
"I really want to pay it forward," said Joe. "I want to pass this tremendous gift on to others."
AlloSource is a non-profit company that offers more than 200 types of precise bone, skin, soft-tissue and custom-machined allografts for use in an array 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 grown into one of the largest tissue networks in the country with more than 350 employees. It is the world's largest processor of cellular bone allografts and delivers unparalleled expertise and customer service to its growing network of surgeons, partners and the country's most reputable organ procurement organizations. As one of the leading innovators in maximizing tissue donation with the goal of offering optimal solutions for healthcare providers and their patients, AlloSource is recognized by the medical community for its ability to process and provide high quality tissue. The company is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) and is headquartered in Centennial, CO. For more information, please visit our corporate website or educational website.