Late Detroit Tiger’s Community Affairs coordinator to be honored on organ donation float in prestigious Tournament of Roses Parade
Organ donor Kristen Joe’s family will complete her portrait made of floral materials at Dec. 15 celebration at Comerica Park
Everyone knew Kristen Michelle Joe would do great things with her life, and fast. As soon as she could talk, Kristen began singing in the choir at New Bright Star Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit. She took piano lessons for more than a decade, played the violin and harp, and graduated from high school at age 16. A University of Michigan graduate and Detroit Tigers community affairs coordinator – a job she loved -- Kristen made people feel special in life.
In death, Kristen did the same, saving four lives through organ donation and helping many more as a tissue and corneal donor. The 28-year-old woman from Detroit, who died in February 2012 after a fatal asthma attack, will be among 72 donors honored with “floragraphs” on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year’s Day.
Kristen Joe’s family and friends will complete her floragraph – a portrait created with floral materials – at a special event at 2-5 p.m. Saturday, December 15, at Tiger Club at Comerica Park, 2100 Woodward, in Detroit.
“It is a great honor for our daughter Kristen’s floragraph to be on the Donate Life float at the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade and we are excited to have the opportunity to attend the events in Pasadena,” said her parents, Drs. Annette and Lonnie Joe. “When Kristen renewed her license last year, she told me she wanted to register as an organ donor. Kristen was a very generous person and was always giving presents. Even though this has been the most difficult time in our lives, we have joy knowing that her sweet voice continues to echo through her many loving gifts.”
Kristen’s legacy of giving, like that of all donors, reflects an individual’s heroic decision when one signs up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Her floragraph is being sponsored by Sallop, a full-service insurance brokerage firm with more than 50 years of unparalleled excellence in risk mitigation and commercial insurance. Sallop is working with Gift of Life Michigan and the Gift of Life Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP) to finish the floragraph in Michigan.
“She was the Community Affairs Coordinator with the Detroit Tigers, and Comerica Park is the perfect place for her family, friends, and colleagues to commemorate her legacy,” said Remonia Chapman, MOTTEP program director. Upon completion, the floragraph will be shipped back to California to be installed on the Donate Life float in time for the 124th annual Tournament of Roses Parade.
Also at the special event, Gift of Life Michigan and the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan will present the Detroit Tigers with a Donate Life “Champion Award” for their long-standing support of organ, tissue and eye donation. Every year, the Tigers host a “Donate Life Day” game to promote the cause and sign up people on the donor registry.
In 2012, more than half a million people have joined the Michigan Organ Donor Registry to record their decision to help others by becoming an organ, tissue and cornea donor. Each donor can save up to eight lives and improve the lives of 50 more through tissue donation.
To sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, visit giftoflifemichigan.org, call 800.482.4881 or visit any Secretary of State branch office. Michigan residents who sign up will receive a red heart donor emblem for the front of their driver’s license or ID card. Those who have signed the back of their license, or registered previously, should update their registration to get the red heart donor emblem.
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