[PARTNER] Filipina is Heading to Rose Parade

 Raaj and Gilda Gopal (Photo courtesy of California Transplant Donor Network)

Raaj and Gilda Gopal (Photo courtesy of California Transplant Donor Network)

Gilda Gopal of Daly City, whose prayers for a new kidney were answered through an organ donor, has been selected to ride on the Donate Life “Never Ending Story” float New Year’s Day in the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade.

California Transplant Donor Network, (CTDN) a nonprofit focused on saving the lives of those in need of organ and tissue transplants in Northern California and Northern Nevada, choose the 47-year-old woman to join 29 others on Donate Life “Never Ending Story” float.

The float represents more than 100 inspirational stories from across the country about lives changed forever through organ and tissue donation. The float is making its 11th appearance in the internationally recognized kickoff to the New Year.

Told her own kidneys were failing, Gilda was required to be hooked up to a dialysis machine several times a week to remove toxins from her body.  Four years passed.  Then the phone call came. Because of a donor’s gift, there was a new kidney for Gilda.  After her 2006 transplant, Gilda has returned to health.  She and her husband, Raaj, can travel.  They also volunteer as Donate Life Ambassadors for CTDN.

Life is so good now,” she says.  “I am so thankful to my donor for giving me a second chance at life.  I volunteer for the cause and tell people how registering as an organ and tissue donor may one day truly save someone’s life. When people ask me how I can say that, I tell them to look at me, I am the proof that it does.”

In addition to the riders, the float will contain the floral portraits of 72 people from across the country who became organ and tissue donors.  Others whose lives were saved or improved through a donation from a living donor will walk alongside the float.  Each year, the Donate Life float campaign is supported by more than 140 official sponsors from coast to coast, including organ and tissue recovery organizations, tissue and eye banks, hospitals, transplant centers, state donor registries, funeral homes, donor family foundations and affiliated organizations.

Many people watching the Donate Life float pass by in person or on television during the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day are also waiting organs,” said CTDN Chief Executive Officer Cindy Siljestrom.  “They wait for their chance to receive a transplant through the generous act of donation.”

The theme for the 126th Rose Parade is "Inspiring Stories.” It will take place Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, at 8 a.m. (PST) in Pasadena, CA. About 10,000 Northern Californians are waiting for a transplant. Talk to your family and register at www.ctdn.org

About the California Transplant Donor Network

The California Transplant Donor Network saves and improves lives by facilitating organ and tissue donation for transplantation. The California Transplant Donor Network helps 170 hospitals in 40 Northern and Central California and Northern Nevada counties offer the option of organ and tissue donation to families whose loved ones have died, coordinates deceased organ recovery and placement, and provides public education with the hope that every resident will become a donor. The California Transplant Donor Network is federally designated as the region’s organ recovery organization.

Contact:  Anthony Borders, CTDN Communications Manager510.301.8247