By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The announcement was recently made at a ceremony held at the Covenant Community Church in Yukon.
Eva is the daughter of Royce and Keri Young, of Yukon. The family has garnered national attention with their decision to continue their pregnancy in hopes of offering others life.
LifeShare is the organ procurement organization in Oklahoma responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant purposes.
Every year, LifeShare of Oklahoma helps sponsor the Donate Life Float in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day to spread the message about organ, eye and tissue donation. As a sponsor, LifeShare is able to send one recipient to ride the float and one donor portrait to be honored on the float.
The 2020 float shares the Power of Hope by highlighting Southeast Asia’s Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, a celebration of shining “Light in the Darkness.”
Twenty-six organ, eye and tissue recipients or living donors will be seated or walk alongside the float. Floral displays will be placed in intricate vessels, among the 44 memorial floral portraits honoring the gift of life and light given by organ, eye and tissue donors.
On New Year’s Day, Eva will be honored on the Rose Parade Donate Life Float as a tissue donor in a floragraph. A floragraph is a portrait of the donor, created with floral materials such as seeds, grains, spices, dried flowers and other organic materials. She is one of 44 donors to be featured on this year’s float.
During a routine 19-week ultrasound, a doctor discovered that Royce the Young’s daughter was developing without a significant portion of her brain. The Youngs were told the baby had anencephaly, and that she wouldn’t survive long after delivery.
Upon hearing this news, the Youngs asked the doctors about organ donation.
The doctor sent them home for 48 hours to decide on one of two possible options: terminate the pregnancy, or continue the pregnancy to term with the intent of donating the baby’s organs. The family decided to continue the pregnancy, and named their daughter ‘Eva Grace’, which means giver of life.
The Young’s mission was to “get Eva to full-term, welcome her into this world, and let her give the gift of life to some other hurting family.”
At 37 weeks, Keri went to the hospital because she was not feeling Eva’s usual movements. The Young family was devastated to learn baby Eva’s heart had stopped beating. They also learned that because of that, their daughter would not be able to be an organ donor.
They continued with their birth plan and a few moments after she was delivered, they received a call with news that Eva would be able to donate her eyes and restore sight to others.
“We are thankful to have the opportunity to honor Eva Young at the Rose Parade this year as she represents the beauty that can come from donation,” said Jeffrey Orlowski, President and Chief Executive Officer of LifeShare of Oklahoma.
“With a U.S. television audience in the tens of millions and a worldwide audience in the hundreds of millions, theses individuals will not only be representing the importance of donation, they will serve the representatives of Oklahoma and the approximately 700 citizens of the state who are waiting on a lifesaving transplant.”
LifeShare encourages Oklahomans to watch the 131 Rose Parade on New Year’s Day from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (CST). For more information, visit lifeshareoklahoma.org.