A Claremore woman who is a double lung transplant recipient will ride on Donate Life's 2013 Rose Parade float on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California.
Valerie Vandervort Boyer will be one of 32 riders representing people touched by organ, tissue and blood donations, according to LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma.
Boyer was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at six weeks old. She led a pretty normal life until her lung function declined by her late 20s.
"I went to public school, took dancing and tumbling, played softball one summer and was a cheerleader," Boyer said.
She waited almost two years for a double lung transplant. Boyer received her gift of life just before her 30th birthday from 15-year-old organ donor Colbey Oglesby. Since her transplant, Boyer said she's been able to cross items off her bucket list like hiking and learning to surf.
She also serves as a mentor to other CF patients and speaks on organ donations at health fairs. Boyer has medaled in the U.S. Transplant Games, cheered on by her organ donor's family in 2010.
"Life post-transplant has a new meaning," said Valerie. "I take each day as it comes, and I take time to stop and smell the roses along the way. I know God has so much more for my life than I will ever realize."
The Donate Life float is called "Journeys of the Heart." The float pays tribute to organ donors like 16-month-old Maegan Ariana Yeakley of Oklahoma City.
Yeakley's photograph will be one of 72 "floragraphs" decorating the Rose Parade entry.