A Lafayette native and LOPA hero will be honored on the Donate Life Float, Journeys of the Heart, in the 2013 New Years Day Rose Parade.
Ryan Viator lost his life in April 2000 due to a severe head injury. Ryan's family completed the natural floragraph at Lafayette General Medical Center earlier this month.
The Rose Parade will be televised nationally at 11:00 A.M. on the Hallmark Channel.
Ryan was selected after the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency submitted his story to the Rose Parade.
Ryan gave the ultimate gift - the gift of life - through organ, tissue and eye donation. Ryan, along with 71 other honorees who, in death, gave life to others through donation, will be showcased for 47 million viewers through floragraph portraits. Their portraits, each made entirely of organic floral materials, will be featured on huge floral timepieces that remind us of the preciousness of time we have to spend with our loved ones. Donate Life California Volunteers decorated Ryan's floragraph almost to completion. Ryan's family completed his portrait with organic materials.
On April 7, 2000, Ryan's young life ended due to a severe head injury. In the midst of their incredible tragedy, Ryan's family reached beyond their grief and asked about organ donation. Ryan's giving heart, and love for life and others, was made more evident than ever before as he saved the lives of three people.
Ryan's mom, Shawnee Delahoussaye, explains, "Ryan was adventurous, and he was a risk-taker. He had many journeys of the heart. There were two things in life he dreamed of doing but never had the chance to accomplish - flying in a fighter jet and visiting California. We were excited to find out one of Ryan's recipients is a retired Air Force pilot. We feel like Ryan's dream has come true by giving new life to this recipient and flying through him. Ryan's final dream will become a reality on January 1, 2013, when the face of our blonde haired, green-eyed hero will be on display for the entire world to see in Pasadena, CA." Oh the journeys Ryan dreamed of taking and, even in death, he is accomplishing more than he could've ever imagined!