16-Year-Old Bay Area Pediatric Transplant Recipient Selected To Ride The Donate Life Float At The 2022 Rose Parade® On New Year’s Day
Donor Network West honors Branden Dever with a Rose Parade send-off celebration to encourage more people to register as organ donors
(SAN RAMON, CA) DECEMBER 7, 2021 – Branden Dever, a 16-year-old kidney transplant recipient from San Jose, CA, has been selected by Donor Network West to ride on the Donate Life Rose Parade® float at the 133rd Rose Parade® on New Year’s Day. Donor Network West will host a send-off celebration event for Branden on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 10:30 a.m. The event will take place at Donor Network West’s Northern California headquarters in San Ramon, Calif.
Branden never had serious health issues growing up. Other than a few eye problems, the Dever family was never concerned about anything too serious. That all changed in May 2020 when Branden went in for a routine eye exam. The then 15-year-old was diagnosed with nephronophthisis – a genetic disorder which affects the eyes and is the most common genetic cause of childhood kidney failure.
Things moved quickly after the Dever family learned the news of their son’s illness. Branden was put on the kidney transplant waiting list and required peritoneal dialysis for end-stage kidney disease, which he completed at home every night for nine to 12 hours and describes the pain as nearly unbearable. The Dever’s waited two months to receive the call they had been waiting for – there was a donor for Branden.
“I remember exactly what I was doing when I got the call. I was feeling a great deal of emotions — happy, excited, scared, nervous, hopeful … but most especially, grateful and blessed. At the same time, my heart ached for the family who lost a loved one,” says Eden Dever, Branden’s mother.
Amy Gallo, MD, surgical director of Pediatric Kidney Transplant at Stanford Children’s Health Pediatric Transplant Center, performed the successful procedure. Stanford Children’s Health pediatric kidney transplant program is nationally recognized and was ranked #4 in Nephrology by U.S. News & World Report.
“I had to dream that I would get better,” Branden says. “I had to believe in myself and the people at Stanford Children’s Health who helped me, and believe that a donor would come forward and give me a selfless gift.”
Donor Network West has helped facilitate the recovery of every lifesaving organ in Northern California and northern Nevada for the past 30 years. The federally designated non-profit organ procurement organization is dedicated to helping provide people with a second chance at life through organ, eye and tissue donation for transplantation and research.
“Branden’s journey reminds us that the work we do matters and the odds people face can be improved as long as we continue to advocate, support and stand with people in our communities – especially those awaiting a second chance at life. Lifesaving transplants would not be possible without generous donors and their families, who, in the midst of tragedy find the courage to say yes to donation,” says Janice F. Whaley, President and CEO of Donor Network West. “Branden embodies this year’s Donate Life Float theme: Courage to Hope and we are proud to honor both Branden and his donor.”
There are more than 23,000 people awaiting a life-saving organ transplant in California alone, and more than 100,000 nationally – many of which are pediatric patients like Branden. 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 to be an organ donor. To learn more and to register as an organ donor, visit DonorNetworkWest.org.
Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation and research. The organization was established in 1987 and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 45 counties in Northern California and Northern Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit DonorNetworkWest.org and follow us on social media: @mydnwest.