Richmond resident honored on Rose Parade organ donation float

Organ donation recipient, advocate from Richmond honored at Rose Parade
Hilda Martinez (Photo courtesy of Donor Network West)

A Richmond mother of four who benefited from a kidney transplant and actively advocates for life-saving organ donations was among three Bay Area residents honored by Donor Network West at the 133th Annual Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Hilda Martinez, of Richmond, experienced issues with her kidney and was just about to undergo her first dialysis treatment in 2014 when a donor match was found. The kidney transplant provided Martinez with the gift of life. She describes her experience as a “miracle” given the long wait people who need a kidney transplant have to endure. Over 23,000 people are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant in California alone, and more than 100,000 nationally, according to Donors Network West. 

“One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal more than 75 others,” said the organization.

Martinez dedicates her free time to volunteering with Donor Network West, alongside a group of women called Las Amigas, who educate the Latino community about the importance of organ and tissue donation.

Honoring advocates like Martinez at the iconic Rose Parade helps raise awareness about life-saving organ donations, according to Donor Network West. 

Donor Network West partnered with Sutter Health, an affiliate of California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), to host a send-off celebration event for Martinez in San Francisco. On Saturday, she rode on Donate Life’s “Courage to Hope” float in the Rose Parade (see her float starting at the 34:26 mark in the YouTube video).

Along with Martinez, Branden Dever of San Jose, also a kidney transplant recipient, along with Siwutha “Sam” Meas of Union City, an organ donor, were also honored at the parade.

Martinez “is blessed to be able to spend quality time with her two young daughters, see her two sons graduate from San Francisco State University, and celebrate 26 years of marriage with her loving husband,” according to Donor Network West.