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Organ recipients, donors join together to help build Rose Parade float

By Eric Resendiz

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    IRWINDALE, California (KABC) — Thousands of volunteers are working around the clock to get the Rose Parade floats decorated in time for New Year’s Day. But some of those longtime volunteers have a special connection to the parade, the floats, and their themes.

Regina Armstrong is among the many volunteers at Fiesta Parade floats. She is proud to be able to work on the float for One Legacy Donate Life. She is a two-time organ transplant recipient. It was in March 1987 when then 12-year-old Regina received a heart transplant. ABC7 reported on Armstrong’s heart transplant, because she was UCLA’s youngest heart transplant recipient at the time.

“I also received a kidney transplant due to long-term medication, and that would be five years on New Year’s Eve on Sunday,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong is now 49 years old living a healthy life and has a beautiful family. Back in 2020, she rode on the float for One Legacy Donate Life. Now, she is also a decorating float specialist with the nonprofit and has been volunteering for six years.

“It’s my way of saying thank you to my donors’ families for the gift of life, so this is my way of giving back,” said Armstrong.

Mike Thompson is the float supervisor for Donate Life. “Each and every one of the volunteers here truly cares. Regina is just the epitome of it.”

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