When the 131st Rose Parade sets off in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2020, a Richmond teenager will be making a worldwide impact while riding on one of the floats.
Today, Donor Network West, an organization promoting and facilitating organ, eye and tissue donations, announced it has chosen Khalieghya Dandie-Evans, 17, a liver transplant recipient from Richmond, to ride atop the Donate Life Rose Parade float in the storied Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.
The high school senior, who is set to graduate with honors from Oakland Military Academy, has been an advocate for organ donation as a Donate Life Ambassador with Donor Network West. Additionally, she volunteers with the police department and community programs focused on mental illness and resources for the homeless, and is also a member of her high school’s Black Student Union and a multi-sport athlete.
Dandie-Evans was diagnosed with biliary atresia soon after birth and needed a liver transplant to survive. At 6 months old, she received a liver from a 4-year-old donor. The transplant occurred at Stanford Children’s Health — Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Frequent hospital visits and medical procedures are an ongoing part of her life.
“Being a transplant recipient is all I have known; I thought that everybody got transplants,” she said. “I am very happy to be alive today as I have lost friends due to transplant-related complications.”
She says she’s grateful to the family that enabled her transparent. Being active in the community and promoting organ donation is a way of giving back.
And at the upcoming Rose Bowl, which attracts about 700,000 spectators and over 70 million viewers on worldwide television, she’ll be giving back in a big way. The 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade float will include 26 organ and tissue recipients or living donors.
“She will represent the thousands of people impacted by organ and tissue donation across Northern California and Northern Nevada, the organization’s service area,” according to Donors Network West.
Here’s a rendering of the float she’ll be riding on during the parade, courtesy of Donor Network West and Dandie-Evans family.