Bay Area Teen, Saved by Organ Transplant as a Baby, Chosen as Rose Parade® Float Rider

(San Ramon, CA) October 14, 2019 – Khalieghya Dandie-Evans, a liver transplant recipient from Richmond, Calif., was chosen by Donor Network West to ride atop the Donate Life Rose Parade® float in the 131S t Rose Parade® on New Year’s Day. She will represent the thousands of people impacted by organ and tissue donation across Northern California and Northern Nevada, the organization’s service area.

Khalieghya, 17, grew up believing it was “normal” to have received an organ transplant. She was born prematurely and diagnosed with biliary atresia soon after birth. A liver from a four-year-old donor saved her life when she was only six months old.

“Being a transplant recipient is all I have known; I thought that everybody got transplants. I am very happy to be alive today as I have lost friends due to transplant-related complications,” says Khalieghya with a bright smile.

Her smile, however, does not embody all of what she and her family went through for her to be alive today. After her transplant at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, she had to endure many medical tests, hospital visits, surgeries, and treatments.

The year 2020 is very special for Khalieghya; not only will she be a part of the Rose Parade, she will be graduating from high school with honors. Until then, she continues to advocate for organ donation as a Donate Life Ambassador with Donor Network West and volunteers with her local police department and community programs focused on mental illness and resources for the homeless. She is also a member of her high school’s Black Student Union and a multi-sport athlete.

“One family’s decision to donate gave Khalieghya and her family the hope they needed as they watched her fight to stay alive as a baby in desperate need of a transplant. We are happy to have been a part of her journey in becoming the resilient young woman that she is today thanks to the power of organ donation,” says Janice F. Whaley, Chief Executive Officer of Donor Network West.

The Rose Parade, which will take place in Pasadena, CA on January 1, 2020, will welcome an estimated 700,000 spectators and will be watched by over 70 million viewers worldwide on television. The parade’s theme, The Power of Hope, honors the opportunity to look beyond challenges of the moment and light a path to a brighter future.

The 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade® float rendering
The 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade® float rendering

The 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade® float, Light in the Darkness, shares the Power of Hope by highlighting Southeast Asia’s Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, a celebration of light shining in darkness. The float will include 70 participants from across the U.S. Twenty-six organ and tissue recipients or living donors will be atop or walk alongside the float during the parade.

Floral displays overflow from intricate vessels adorned with 44 memorial floral portraits that honor the Regalo de vida and light given by deceased organ, eye and tissue donors.

Nearly 10,000 people await a life-saving organ transplant in Northern California and Nevada. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal more than 75 others. Anyone can register as a donor at DonorNetworkWest.org o en el DMV.

Acerca de Donor Network West

Donor Network West salva y sana vidas al facilitar la recuperación de órganos y tejidos para el trasplante. La organización se estableció en 1987 y es una organización oficial de Donate Life acreditada por la Asociación de Organizaciones de Obtención de Órganos (AOPO) y la Asociación Americana de Bancos de Tejidos (AATB). Federalmente designado para servir a 40 condados en el norte de California y Nevada, Donor Network West se asocia con el Departamento de Vehículos Motorizados y los registros de donantes autorizados por el estado. Para obtener información, visite DonorNetworkWest.org y síganos en las redes sociales: @mydnwest.

Sobre el Pasadena Tournament of Roses®

The Tournament of Roses is a volunteer organization that hosts America’s New Year Celebration® with the Rose Parade® presented by Honda, the Rose Bowl Game® presented by Northwestern Mutual and a variety of accompanying events. 935 volunteer members of the association will drive the success of 131st Rose Parade themed “The Power of Hope,” on Wednesday, January 1, 2020, followed by the 106th Rose Bowl Game. For more information, visit www.tournamentofroses.com. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.