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Liver transplant recipient and WCSD student celebrated ahead of participation in Rose Parade (sponsored)


Donor Network West and Washoe County School District held a send-off on Wednesday, Dec. 14 for Sparks, Nev. local, Lavender McKillip, ahead of her Rose Parade participation

Donor Network West and Washoe County School District celebrated Lavender McKillip, a liver transplant recipient and Innovations High School student, ahead of her participation in the Rose Parade®. Donor Network West, the federally designated non-profit organ procurement organization for northern Nevada and northern California, along with UCSF Health, have invited McKillip to ride on the Donate Life float in the Rose Parade® happening Monday, Jan. 2, 2023 in Pasadena, Calif.

A Sparks, Nev. resident and high school senior, McKillip was presented with roses by Justin Johnson, vice president of Donation Development and Organ Operations for Donor Network West during the celebration event led by Principal Michael Bradley, with her classmates and teachers in attendance. 

After noticing issues with her growth at age seven, McKillip underwent years of testing and eventually received an autoimmune hepatitis diagnosis, which affects the liver. Just after her sixteenth birthday, she underwent lifesaving liver transplant surgery at UCSF Health.

Now, at 17 years old, McKillip is thriving. She has a passion for books; she has led the creation and growth of the library at her school and is planning to become a librarian after graduation. She hopes that raising awareness of the importance of organ donation will make the world a better place for everyone.

“I’ll do everything I can to show everyone the value of donation,” she said. “It’s the least I can do. Organ donation saved my life – it’s only fair that I show people how to save others.”

Donor Network West is a sponsor of the 2023 Donate Life Rose Parade® float, which will feature dozens of participants from around the U.S. who are transplant recipients, living donors or are organ donors represented by a memorial floral portrait. There are currently more than 600 Nevadans on the organ transplant waiting list. To help reduce the waiting list, Donor Network West and its partners work together to increase the number of registered organ donors and raise awareness of the impact of organ, eye and tissue donation.

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