Local organ donor honored with portrait on Rose Parade float

Floral portrait of Birmingham’s Danny Brannon will adorn Donate Life Rose Parade float Jan. 2.

Daniel Brannon’s death gave life to five others through organ donation, and he will be one of 72 donors remembered with a memorial floragraph – a portrait made from flowers – sponsored by the Alabama Organ Center and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital on the Donate Life float, “…One More Day,” in the Rose Parade Jan. 2, 2012.

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“When Danny’s life was abruptly ended, the lives of five people and their families were substantially improved through his decision to donate several organs and tissue to the Alabama Organ Center,” says his mother LaVonda Brannon. “In the past, Danny commented, ‘where I am going, I do not need these.’” 

Brannon was killed on November 28, 2009 by a drunk driver while sitting at a red light in Birmingham. The 2006 graduate of Carver High School was a straight-A student and played drums in his high school band. Danny spent his last days studying mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he was scheduled to graduate in May 2011. 

“The Alabama Organ Center is proud to be a floragraph sponsor. For us, the Brannons represent the hundreds of donor families from Alabama who have graciously risen above their grief to help others,” says Ann Rayburn, senior manager of professional education for the AOC. “And, the float is a beautiful visual representation of donation and transplantation.” 

“In participating in the parade, we are not only celebrating the life of Danny Brannon with his family, we are celebrating the lives of all of those who have generously given the gift of life to others, both donors and their families,” says Devin E. Eckhoff, M.D., director of the UAB Division of Transplantation and medical director of the AOC. “We hope our participation helps to raise awareness of organ donation so that the thousands of people waiting for a transplant can receive the gift of life.”

The 2012 Donate Life Rose Parade float will carry 28 riders representing deceased organ, eye and tissue donors, living donors and transplant recipients. Six enormous floral timepieces will be adorned with the memorial floragraphs of deceased donors and a rose garden honors more than 3,000 people worldwide, each rose bearing a vial with a personal message honoring a loved one. Anchoring the float is a 33-foot clock tower with an animated sun/moon dial reminding us to make each passing day count.

The float’s 72 floragraphs, including Danny’s, will be partially decorated in Pasadena by volunteers, then will be completed by his family and friends at a decorating event at UAB Hospital Dec. 9, 2011. Brannon’s parents, Steve and LaVonda, along with his sister Stephanie and two brothers Steve and Randall, will travel to the Rose Parade to see his completed portrait adorn the float and participate in events before and after the 123-year-old parade.

“We feel honored to represent the Alabama Organ Center, UAB and all of the donor families in the state,” LaVonda says.  “This is a wonderful way to keep Danny’s memory alive. Organ donation allowed something good to come from our family’s tragedy.”

More than 28,000 lives are saved each year in the U.S. through the gift of organ donation, giving hope to the more than 108,000 people awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. In addition, every year hundreds of thousands of people need donated corneas and tissue to prevent or cure blindness, heal burns or save limbs. 100 million Americans have checked ‘yes’ for donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or identification card.” Sign up as an organ, eye and tissue donor by visiting www.donatelife.net.